Afghanistan humanitarian crisis growing worse, warns UN official

AFP/United Nations
Filed on October 6, 2021

"It’s just escalating and getting worse," says top representative

Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis is growing alarmingly worse, a top UN official warned Wednesday, calling on the international community to do more to help the war-torn nation.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen a crisis like this escalate and accelerate at the pace and scale that it is,” Mary-Ellen McGroarty, the World Food Program’s Country Director for Afghanistan, told reporters in New York during a video press conference.

Before the Taliban seized power in mid-August, Afghanistan already “had a humanitarian crisis of incredible proportions,” affecting some 18 million people, McGroarty said. “It’s just escalating and getting worse.”

“We expect those numbers to increase, and particularly around the issues of food and of malnutrition,” she added.

With a liquidity crisis causing Afghans to “become more and more desperate and have less and less money,” the UN official urged the international community to be more generous in providing aid to Afghanistan as it prepares for the dreaded winter season.

Asked whether the Taliban were hampering deliveries of humanitarian aid, McGroarty said no.

“We haven’t really come up against any obstacles,” she said, adding that aid was based on “humanitarian principles, impartiality, neutrality and operational independence.”

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