Aug 30, 2022 - World

UN warns six million Afghans at risk of famine amid deepening crises

Afghanistan camp
A displaced person camp in Nahr Shahi district of Balkh province, southern Afghanistan in Feb. 2022. Photo: Kawa Basharat/Xinhua via Getty Images

As Afghanistan faces multiple crises, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths warned Monday that six million Afghans are at risk of famine and urged the international community to step up aid, saying that more than $700 million is needed to help Afghans through the winter months.

Driving the news: Over a year since the Taliban retook Afghanistan, Afghans have faced an imploding economy, a deteriorating human rights situation and a disastrous humanitarian situation.

  • Even before the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan was facing the costs of a severe drought that devastated livestock and decimated crops.

The big picture: About 24 million people — more than half the country's population — are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 19 million people contending with "acute levels" of food insecurity, Griffiths said in remarks to the UN Security Council.

  • About six million people are at risk of famine and roughly 3 million children are acutely malnourished.
  • More than $600 million in aid is urgently needed to prepare for winter, including for repairing and upgrading shelters, as well as providing warm clothes and blankets.
  • Another $154 million is required to pre-position food and other supplies before the winter weather cuts off access to certain areas, he added.
  • "We are up against time. These particular contributions are needed within the next three months," Griffiths told the UNSC.

What they're saying: "Afghanistan is a humanitarian crisis. But it’s not only that. It’s an economic crisis. It’s a climate crisis. It’s a hunger crisis. It’s a financial crisis. But it is not a hopeless crisis," Griffiths said.

  • "Poverty is deepening, the population is still growing, and the de facto authorities have no budget to invest in their own future. It’s clear to us — I’m sure it’s clear to all of us — that some development support needs to be restarted," Griffiths added.
  • "The humanitarian community has indeed stayed and delivered for the people of Afghanistan and continues to do so. It’s imperative that the international community, as reflected here, continues to do the same," he said, adding that, "Afghanistan’s de facto authorities must do their part.
  • "The people of Afghanistan are still there. They have shown incredible resilience over the decades and in this last year. Our task is to help them to prosper, to flourish, and to be safe."
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