BRUSSELS ( Associated Press) – Afghanistan is facing a “tsunami of hunger” as the country is on the fringes of an economic race due to a lack of funds needed to keep food supplies afloat, with more than half the population this winter. Struggling to eat. A senior official of the United Nations World Food Program said on Thursday.
In an interview with the Associated Press, WFP leader in Afghanistan Mary-Ellen McGorty urged the international community to put humanitarian need above political discussions and avoid disaster to ensure that Arab aid reaches the Taliban-run country .
According to the Humanitarian Organization of the United Nations, 22.8 million people face acute food shortages, with 8.7 million on the verge of starvation.
“We don’t have enough money to go into 2022,” said McGarty during a halt in Brussels. “What we call the all humanitarian zone in Afghanistan” A comprehensive response requires $4.4 billion for the next 12 months. And for WFP, we need 2.6 billion to do the minimum in 2022.”
Afghanistan’s aid-dependent economy was already faltering when the Taliban seized power in mid-August amid the disorderly departure of US and NATO troops. The international community froze Afghanistan’s assets abroad and halted funding, reluctant to work with the Taliban government, given its reputation for brutality during its previous regime 20 years ago.
Combined with the COVID-19 crisis and drought, currency shortages have had disastrous consequences, with the price of food rising by more than 50 percent over the past few months, leading to a dramatic increase in inflation.
McGarty said she recently met older farmers during a trip to the northeastern province of Badakhshan, who told her they had never faced such a test. Despite having the experience of living through 19 governments.
“They have never before, despite decades of struggle, had to stand in a line with their hands for humanitarian aid,” she said. “It’s a first for him, and he told me that hunger is worse than the struggle he’s faced for more than five decades.”
McGarty urged the international community to send money to Afghanistan, insisting that funds could be received into the country independently of the Taliban.
The new Kabul rulers initially promised tolerance and inclusivity with respect to women and ethnic minorities. But so far, her actions, including renewed restrictions for women and the appointment of an all-male government, have not impressed the international community and many donors.
“We’ve been working in Afghanistan for years, in disputed areas, and the money comes directly to the agencies,” McGarty said. “We work with our partners, we work directly with communities.”
McGarty said WFP has managed to distribute food to key locations in the Northeast and Central High regions of the country in the wake of the winter months. But he said winter snowfall has started blocking some of the country’s major roads, making the need for assistance even more urgent.
“Can you imagine not being able to feed your little ones? And can you even imagine not being able to keep those little ones warm?” McGarty said. “This is unimaginable suffering and support is needed today to avert that unimaginable suffering.”
McGarty said that the Afghans now have to either starve or leave their country.
“It’s one step away from a disaster,” she said.