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UN Chief Urges International Support To Prevent ‘Humanitarian Catastrophe' In Afghanistan

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. (file photo)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on all nations to help the people of Afghanistan “in their darkest hour of need,” citing the “deepening humanitarian and economic crisis” in the country.

Guterres on August 31 said that nearly half the population needs humanitarian assistance to survive and that the war-ravaged country faces a total collapse of basic services for citizens.

Guterres’s statement came following the Taliban takeover of much of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of the last U.S. forces from the country.

Guterres said that a “humanitarian catastrophe” was looming, pointing to 18 million Afghans in need of aid to survive.

He added that more than half of all children under age 5 are expected to become “acutely malnourished” in the next year.

“Amid a severe drought and with harsh winter conditions on the horizon, extra food, shelter, and health supplies must be urgently fast-tracked into the country,” Guterres said.

He urged the international community to provide financial support to keep the country from collapsing.

"I urge all member states to dig deep for the people of Afghanistan in their darkest hour of need," Guterres said in his statement.

A UN spokesman said that the current $1.3 billion UN humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan is only 39 percent funded.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP