WORLD / MID-EAST
Agencies rush to deliver needed supplies before winter
UN speeds up Afghan aid
Published: Oct 07, 2021 05:58 PM
Stranded people seek information from security forces about opening the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan which was closed by authorities a few days ago, in Chaman, Pakistan on Wednesday. Thousands of Afghans and Pakistanis normally cross on a daily basis and a steady stream of trucks passes through. Photo: VCG

Stranded people seek information from security forces about opening the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan which was closed by authorities a few days ago, in Chaman, Pakistan on Wednesday. Thousands of Afghans and Pakistanis normally cross on a daily basis and a steady stream of trucks passes through. Photo: VCG



 United Nations agencies and their humanitarian partners are racing against time to deliver life-saving aid and supplies to crisis-hit Afghans ahead of winter, a UN agency said on Thursday.

"In September, more than 3.8 million people received food assistance, 21,000 children aged 6-59 months and 10,000 women received treatment for acute malnutrition, 32,000 people received non-food items including blankets and warm clothes for winter," the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Afghanistan said in a statement.

Following the Taliban's takeover in mid-August, the security situation remained generally calm across the Central Asian country.

Millions of people in Afghanistan have been deeply affected by decades of conflict and displacement, chronic poverty, the COVID-19 pandemic, a severe drought, a failing health system, and an economy on the brink of collapse, the OCHA said. "At the beginning of 2021, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was already one of the worst in the world, with nearly half of the population - some 18.4 million people - in need of humanitarian assistance," it added.

More than 10,000 children were reached with community-based education activities, 450,000 people were covered by primary and secondary healthcare, and 160,000 farmers and herders were provided with livelihood support in September, the OCHA noted.

During the period, "12,000 people received emergency psycho-social and mental health support, 186,000 drought-affected people received water, and 150,000 people received hygiene promotion and hygiene kits."

The Taliban's newly formed caretaker government has recently paid salaries to government employees for two months in a number of ministries, including ministries of education and public health.

Majority of some 400,000 state employees have not received wages since July.   

"The people of Afghanistan must not pay the price of collective failures. They deserve a normal life in peace and dignity. We will spare no effort to respond to the needs of all women, men, and children in Afghanistan," UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov was quoted in the statement as saying.

In the past week UN World Food Programme (WFP) distributed specialized nutritious foods to prevent malnutrition for over 6,500 kids under the age of 5 across the country.

"We are witnessing a new depth of destitution as the drought and the economic crisis drive up food and fuel prices. Getting food to families across Afghanistan before the cold and harsh winter is what we must do now," Mary-Ellen McGroarty, representative and country director of the WFP in Afghanistan, said in the statement.


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