International aid agencies have several weeks left to provide food and other life-saving aid to remote parts of Afghanistan before the winter hits the region for months, as the country faces a major global crisis.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is trying to move food to mountainous areas such as Badakhshan and Nuristan in the next two weeks before the onset of snow and extreme heat making transportation difficult and expensive.
“It’s only a matter of weeks, even a month, for aid agencies to reach out to these regions,” Necephor Mghendi, IFRC chief in Afghanistan, told the Financial Times. “There is little chance.”
IFRC wants to provide food, blankets and other necessities to more than 200,000 people around the world before its parts are cut off. But the aid has only raised about 15 percent of its SFr36m ($ 39.4M) investment in Afghanistan.
The warning was issued as the country plunged into a crisis of support for the Taliban regime in August. External aid, which accounted for about half of all household expenses, came to a standstill from the time the group took over, leaving everything from banks to hospitals to distribute food in the affected areas and financial problems.
Extreme poverty and poverty have caused many previously poor families to sink into a quagmire of drought for decades. on the edge.
The UN World Food Program estimates that two-thirds of Afghan people, some 23m, are starving, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, which is used by international organizations to test food. Of these, 9m are facing the “emergency” food crisis.
Mghendi and other allies have urged countries to resume assistance in Afghanistan to end the crisis, and warn that sanctions or other financial measures against the Taliban are exacerbating the crisis.
The EU said last month it would provide € 1bn aid to Afghanistan and its neighbors as well reopen embassy in the country. The US also said it would donate $ 144m in international aid.
But Mghendi said there was still a lot to be done.
Afghanistan “in my opinion is the most vulnerable [country] in this world, ”said Mghendi. “This is the time [countries] should meet and provide assistance. If not, then there has been a catastrophe. ”
“The international community must balance the punishment of the people and the countries that are punishing them.”
This has raised concerns about the refugee crisis if Afghanistan’s economy continues to plummet. The UN estimates that 700,000 Afghans have already fled the country due to conflict and insecurity this year.
David Beasley, chief executive of the World Food Program, told the BBC this week that the situation in Afghanistan was “as bad as you can imagine… 95 percent of the population is malnourished. We now see 23m people starving.”
He added: “The next six months will be a nightmare. There will be hell on earth. ”