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UN Raises $600 Million to Prevent a Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan

September 13, 2021

The UN is holding an aid conference in Geneva today (Monday) in an attempt to raise more than $600 million for Afghanistan, which is facing a humanitarian crisis as a result of the Taliban’s takeover. Even before the Taliban took over Kabul last month, half of the population, or 18 million people, were reliant on aid. According to UN officials and aid organizations, this figure is expected to rise due to drought and cash and food shortages.

The abrupt cessation of billions of dollars in foreign donations following the collapse of Afghanistan’s Western-backed government and the Taliban’s subsequent victory has increased pressure on the UN program. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says his organization is in financial trouble: “At the moment, the UN is not even able to pay its own employees,” he told reporters on Friday.

The Geneva conference, which is set to begin today, will be attended by top UN officials such as Guterres, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, and dozens of government representatives such as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. A third of the $606 million sought would be used by the UN World Food Program (WFP), which discovered that 93% of the 1,600 Afghans surveyed in August and September were not consuming enough food, primarily due to a lack of access to cash to pay for it.

“It has become a race against the clock and the elements to get life-saving aid to the Afghan people who need it the most,” WFP deputy regional director Anthea Webb said. “We’re literally begging and borrowing to keep food stocks from running out.” Another UN agency involved in the appeal is the World Health Organization, which is attempting to save hundreds of health facilities that are on the verge of closing due to a lack of funding.

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