UN launches largest single country aid appeal ever

The United Nations and its partners launched a joint appeal of more than $5 billion for two plans for the people of Afghanistan in 2022.

Jan 14, 2022

The United Nations and its partners launched a joint appeal of more than $5 billion for two plans for the people of Afghanistan in 2022.

With Afghanistan’s basic services collapsing in what is fast becoming the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the UN asked donors to help deliver critical food aid to more than half of the people within the country and another 5.7 million needy people and local communities in five neighbouring countries.

Speaking at the launch of the appeal in Geneva on January 11, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said that $4.4 billion was needed for the Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) alone, to directly pay health workers and others, not the de facto authorities.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said another $623 million were needed for the Afghanistan Situation Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP), to support refugees and host communities in five neighbouring countries.

“Today we are launching an appeal for $4.4 billion for Afghanistan itself for 2022,” Griffiths said. “This,” he added, “is the largest ever appeal for a single country for humanitarian assistance and it is three times the amount actually fundraised in 2021.”

Griffiths said the appeal was “an absolutely essential stop-gap measure” that they were putting in front of the international community. “Without this being funded,” he urged, “there won’t be a future, we need this to be done, otherwise there will be outflow, there will be suffering.”

However, Griffiths made it clear the funding would not be used to support the Taliban, the country’s de facto authorities. He said it would directly benefit “nurses and health officials in the field” so that these services can continue, not as support for state structures.

“Humanitarian agencies inside Afghanistan can only operate,” he said, “if there’s cash in the economy, which can be used to pay officials, salaries, costs, fuel and so forth.” “So, liquidity in its first phase is a humanitarian issue, it’s not just a bigger economic issue.”

UN aid agencies describe Afghanistan’s plight as one of the world’s most rapidly growing humanitarian crises. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than half of Afghanistan’s some 40 million population now faces acute hunger, over 9 million people have been displaced, millions of children are out of school and farmers are battling the worst drought in decades.

As full-blown humanitarian catastrophe looms, the UN emergency relief chief appealed, “My message is urgent: don’t shut the door on the people of Afghanistan.” He said, “Humanitarian partners are on the ground, and they are delivering, despite the challenges”. He urged for help “to scale up and stave off widespread hunger, disease, malnutrition and ultimately death by supporting the humanitarian plans” they have launched.

Grandi also reiterated that humanitarians on the ground were well aware of the importance of stressing the need to protect the rights of minorities and other vulnerable Afghans. Vatican News/UN

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