UN: humanitarian disaster looms in Afghanistan | free press

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Geneva (dpa) – According to the United Nations, the situation of the people in Afghanistan is becoming increasingly desperate.

“We are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe,” a spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said in Geneva on Friday. Above all, women and children would flee from the advancing Taliban.

A spokesman for the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said the food supply of about a third of the population is no longer guaranteed. Two million children alone depend on help. “We fear the worst is yet to come.” The situation is getting more and more confusing. In any case, given the escalation, there is far too little money available to really help. By the end of the year, $200 million would be needed.

After the US announced its withdrawal from Afghanistan, the other allies, such as Germany, decided to end the mission. Since then, the militant Islamist Taliban have rapidly conquered large parts of the country.

Aid organizations want to stay

Aid organizations are also preparing for a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Despite the danger, many helpers want to stay on site. “I will stay here as long as it is possible in any way,” Stefan Recker of Caritas International Kabul told Deutschlandfunk on Friday. He also wanted to set an example that not all foreigners left.

The Afghan director of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Tracey Van Heerden, said the escalation of the conflict is making the work of aid organizations more difficult and more dangerous. “But we are determined to stay and deliver.”

The escalating violence is forcing thousands of people to flee to safer places, according to the NRC. According to UN estimates, 390,000 people have been displaced since the beginning of the year, but the actual number is likely to be significantly higher. “Frightened families have fled to Kabul in recent days. The camps are overcrowded and children sleep outside in the open air. Families fight over food,” explains Van Heerden. The NRC fears that this is happening “at an unprecedented pace across the country”.

Bad situation for internally displaced persons

Recker said many IDPs have been in camps in the greater Kabul area for a decade and a half; now many are joining them and the supply situation is bad. Caritas is currently working on projects for displaced persons in Kabul. Other projects, for example with drug addicts and maternal and child health, continued.

About endangering the aid workers, Recker said: “So far, aid workers have not been mistreated or attacked in the areas captured by the Taliban. The Taliban have even protected the offices of aid organizations in the conquered areas from looting.” However, the Taliban had massacred government and armed forces workers and took their relatives hostage. “This resulted in the most serious human rights violations. for.” And it is not known how the Taliban would behave after a possible takeover.