Momentum to prevent famine in Afghanistan must continue, says humanitarian NGO

World Sunday 06/March/2022 11:35 AM
Momentum to prevent famine in Afghanistan must continue, says humanitarian NGO

New York: As the world's attention shifts to the conflict and displacement crisis in Ukraine, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has called on the world to not neglect Afghanistan.

The IRC, in a statement, said the international community should seize this window of opportunity in Afghanistan to prevent famine, save lives, and put an end to the horrific conditions facing women and girls, It called for a scale-up of life-saving humanitarian aid, and policy changes to alleviate the economic crisis that is tipping the scale towards preventable death and suffering.

Amanda Catanzano, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at the IRC, said, "We applaud the recent good work done by the US and other donor governments to alleviate the suffering in Afghanistan. Specifically, the World Bank board's decision to provide $1 billion from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund to UN agencies and aid organizations operating in the country."

Catanzano said these funds will help restore essential health and education services that have been paralysed since August when donors froze funds that made up 75 per cent of public spending.

This funding will also help Afghans rebuild their livelihoods at a time of record food insecurity when nearly 9 million Afghans live on the brink of famine, she added.

The IRC official also urged the international community to build on this momentum - these welcome policy moves should be the beginning not the end. "After six months of uncertainty for Afghans, these decisions represent vital action and recognition that Afghans need more than short-term emergency aid."

According to the IRC statement, funding needs for the humanitarian response in Afghanistan have more than tripled since last year yet the response lacks 87 per cent of the funding required.

"Until sweeping measures are taken to restore the Afghanistan economy, people will suffer and lives will be lost. Women and girls are especially at risk, and the IRC calls for urgent action to save lives and avert famine," the statement added.