Middle East/North Africa

Red Cross warns of looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is warning of a looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, where there is an urgent need of money and other aid in the wake of the Taliban’s consolidation of power and the U.S. troop withdrawal. 

IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Director Alexander Matheou said in remarks from Kabul Thursday that the international aid organization is “deeply concerned that Afghanistan faces imminent collapse of health services and worsening hunger if aid and money do not flow into the country within weeks.” 

“After living through decades of fleeing and fighting, Afghans now face a severe drought which has devastated food production, leaving millions hungry and destitute,” he explained. 

He also noted that “health financing has been cut across the country placing ever more demand on Red Crescent teams.” 

“Urgent international action is needed to support millions of people with the necessities of life as Afghanistan’s looming harsh winter threatens greater misery and hardships,” Matheou asserted. 

The IFRC is specifically calling on the international community to donate roughly $38 million to fund health clinics set up in Afghanistan and other relief services for civilians.  

“There needs to be some solution to the financial flows into Afghanistan to ensure that at least salaries can be paid, and that essential supplies, power and water being two of them, can be procured,” Matheou added Thursday, according to The Associated Press

The warnings and requests for aid come after several countries and organizations, like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, have paused funds to the Afghanistan government following the Taliban takeover. 

The U.S. has also frozen billions of dollars in assets in accounts that had been held by the Afghan Central Bank. 

Documents obtained by Reuters this week showed that the country’s central bank drained most of its U.S. currency reserves in the weeks leading up to the Taliban’s toppling of the U.S.-backed Afghan government. 

A recent World Bank report showed that foreign aid previously supported about 75 percent of Afghanistan’s spending, according to the AP. 

Late last month, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Afghanistan, and U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric asked donors Wednesday to ramp up funding for a $606 million aid appeal.

Tags Afghan Central Bank Afghanistan IFRC Asia Pacific international monetary fund Reuters Taliban The Associated Press

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