Aug 31, 2021 - World

UN warns of looming "humanitarian catastrophe" in Afghanistan

Displaced Afghan families in a makeshift shelter in Kabul, Aug. 10
Displaced Afghan families in a makeshift shelter in Kabul on Aug. 10. Photo: Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged countries to provide "flexible and comprehensive funding" to Afghanistan in its "darkest hour of need," as he warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in a statement out Tuesday.

Why it matters: Some 18 million people, nearly half of the country's population, are in need of humanitarian aid, per Guterres. The World Health Organization has warned of a waning number of medical supplies and fears abound of an economic crisis.

What they're saying: "I want to express my grave concern at the deepening humanitarian and economic crisis in the country and the threat of basic services collapsing completely," Guterres said.

  • On top of recent events, Guterres warned that a severe drought and upcoming winter will call for extra food, health supplies, and shelters be made available.
  • The Secretary-General called on "all parties to facilitate safe and unimpeded humanitarian access for life-saving and life-sustaining supplies, as well as for all humanitarian workers — men and women."
  • "I urge all Member States to dig deep for the people of Afghanistan in their darkest hour of need. I urge them to provide timely, flexible and comprehensive funding."

The bottom line: "People are losing access to basic goods and services every day.  A humanitarian catastrophe looms," he said.

Go deeper