'Largest ever': UN launches $4.4B humanitarian aid appeal for Afghanistan
22M people in need of assistance inside the country, 5.7M require help beyond borders, says international agency
The UN and its partners launched on Tuesday a $4.4 billion funding appeal to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan in 2022.
"This is the largest ever appeal for a single country for humanitarian assistance," UN Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief chief Martin Griffiths told reporters in Geneva.
"This is a stop-gap, an absolutely essential stop-gap measure that we are putting in front of the international community today. Without this being funded, there won't be a future; we need this to be done; otherwise, there will be outflow, there will be suffering."
The UN said 22 million people inside Afghanistan and a further 5.7 million displaced Afghans in five neighboring countries need vital relief this year.
Aid agencies describe Afghanistan’s plight as one of the world’s most rapidly growing humanitarian crises. According to the UN humanitarian coordination office OCHA, half the population now faces acute hunger, over nine million people have been displaced and millions of children are out of school.
Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi called for $623 million to support refugees and host communities in the neighboring countries.
"There is a regional dimension to this crisis, represented by the Afghan refugees but also Afghans with many other 'stay' arrangements in neighboring countries," he said.
He insisted that there is a need “to stabilize the situation inside Afghanistan, including that of displaced people ... and to prevent a larger refugee crisis, a larger crisis of external displacement.”
Griffiths asked the international community not to "shut the door on the people of Afghanistan."
"Humanitarian partners are on the ground, and they are delivering, despite the challenges. Help us scale up and stave off widespread hunger, disease, malnutrition, and ultimately death by supporting the humanitarian plans we are launching today,” he said.
The scale of need is already enormous, the UN officials stressed, warning that if sufficient action is not taken to support the Afghanistan and regional response plans, next year they will be asking for $10 billion.