The United Nations chief is asking the world to help address a growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
Nearly half the country’s 38 million people need assistance, The Associated Press reported.
“Now more than ever, Afghan children, women & men need support & solidarity from the international community,” António Guterres tweeted, sharing a short video that explained he will convene the “high level humanitarian conference” for the warn-torn country on Sept. 13.
“Afghanistan faces a looming humanitarian catastrophe. We need the international community to stand together and support the Afghan people,” Guterres said in the video.
“We also appeal for full and unimpeded humanitarian access, to make sure Afghans to get the essential services they need,” he continued. “The United Nations stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, and is committed to staying and delivering for them.”
The U.N. appeal for $1.3 billion for 2021 to help more than 18 million people is just 40 percent funded, leaving a $766 million deficit.
“One in three Afghans do not know where their next meal will come from,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told the AP. “Nearly half of all children under the age of 5 are predicted to be acutely malnourished in the next 12 months.”
Congressional aides told Reuters that the US Congress is likely to finance U.N. and other humanitarian assistance, but there is virtually no chance it will directly fund a new Taliban-led government. For fiscal 2022 starting Oct. 1, Congress designated $52.03 million for Afghan humanitarian aid, according to the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
But there’s also $136.45 million earmarked for underwriting Afghan government workers’ salaries in the budget that is unlikely to get sent to a Taliban-led government.