Just two days ago, United Nations roll out Largest ever humanitarian appeal to a single country, needs more than $5 billion this year.
The UN secretary general told reporters in New York that the scale of the appeal “reflects the scale of desperation”.
“Babies are sold to their siblings. Sanitation facilities overrun with malnourished children are frozen. People burn belongings to keep warm. Livelihoods are lost across the country.”
Currently, more than half of Afghanistan’s population depends on life-saving assistance.
Mr. Guterres believes that without a more concerted effort by the international community, “Almost every man, woman and child in Afghanistan could face extreme poverty. ”
According to the secretary-general, aid operations have the capacity to achieve “amazing results” if adequately funded.
Last year, the The United Nations and its humanitarian partners helped 18 million people across the country, an increase of more than 60 percent from the previous year.
These workers now have access to areas and communities that have been off-limits for years, but humanitarian action requires more funding and greater flexibility.
“Freezing temperatures and frozen assets a deadly combination for the Afghan people‘, Mr Guterres warned.
The UN secretary-general also pointed to rules and conditions that prevent money from being used to save lives and economies, arguing that they should be suspended.
“International funds should be allowed to pay public sector workers and help Afghan institutions provide health care, education and other vital services,” he said.
He believes that the decision provides financial institutions and business actors with legal assurance to engage with humanitarian actors without fear of violating sanctions.
To avoid economic collapse, the Secretary-General believes that the functions of the Central Bank of Afghanistan must be preserved. Most importantly, a path for the conditional release of foreign exchange reserves should be identified.
According to him, UN is taking steps to inject cash into economy ‘through creative empowerment arrangements’, but it is “a drop in the bucket”.
The Secretary-General then highlighted a positive example, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) established by the World Bank.
“I hope the remaining resources of more than $1.2 billion can be used to help the Afghan people through the winter,” he said.
In his appeal to the international community, the secretary-general made an “equally urgent request” to Taliban leaders to recognize and protect the fundamental human rights of women and girls.
“Across Afghanistan, women and girls are lacking in offices and classrooms. The hopes and dreams of a generation of girls are shattered. Female scientists, lawyers and teachers are shut out, squandering skills and talent that benefit the country and the world.”
“No country can thrive by disenfranchising half of its population”, he concluded.