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UN agencies say aid cannot get into Afghanistan, call for shipments through Kabul airport

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The World Health Organization’s (WHO) office for the Eastern Mediterranean region on Sunday called for “immediate and unimpeded access” to send medicine and medical supplies to Afghanistan through an airbridge as commercial flights are down in Kabul.

Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for Eastern and Mediterranean Region, and George Laryea-Adjei, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, released the joint statement on Sunday, calling for countries to support humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan as evacuation efforts continue.

“While the main focus over the past days has been major air operations for the evacuation of internationals and vulnerable Afghans, the massive humanitarian needs facing the majority of the population should not – and cannot – be neglected,” Al-Mandhari and Laryea-Adjei said.

“However, with no commercial aircraft currently permitted to land in Kabul, we have no way to get supplies into the country and to those in need. Other humanitarian agencies are similarly constrained,” they added.

According to the UN officials, aid supplies in Afghanistan are quickly dwindling and the WHO only has enough resources to meet urgent needs for about another week and a half. More than 500 metric tonnes of WHO supplies are are awaiting delivery in Dubai.

They suggested in their statement that evacuation planes flying into Afghanistan carry aid supplies with them to be dropped off as they are evacuating people out of the country.

WHO currently operates eight offices in Afghanistan.

“Conflict, displacement, drought and the COVID-19 pandemic are all contributing to a complex and desperate situation in Afghanistan. Humanitarian agencies need to be supported and facilitated to meet the enormous and growing needs in Afghanistan, and make sure that no one dies unnecessarily due to lack of access to aid,” they stated.

The U.S. military on Monday reported its biggest day of airlifts out of Afghanistan. Roughly 37,000 people have been evacuated in the past week, with nearly half of those evacuated in the past 24 hours. There are around 6,000 U.S. military members in Afghanistan to assist in the evacuation operations.

Tags Afghanistan Afghanistan collapse Afghanistan evacuations Humanitarian aid UNICEF World Health Organization

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