UN launches fund appeal for Afghanistan

United Nations, Feb 13: An appeal for more than $400 million has been launched to meet “the most acute” humanitarian needs in Afghanistan this year, UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said here Wednesday.

As part of the global launch by the UN and its partners of a funding plan of $12.9 billion to support 52 million people in 17 countries, the humanitarian community in Afghanistan is seeking $406 million to provide the most vulnerable people with essential, lifesaving aid, Xinhua reported.

“The UN Humanitarian Coordinator (for Afghanistan), Mark Bowden, said the country remains in a protracted, complex emergency, with five million people in need of lifesaving assistance despite more than a decade of international and government development efforts,” said Nesirky at a daily briefing.

Humanitarian funding and response must remain robust, “otherwise Afghanistan could become a forgotten emergency as international attention moves onto to other crises, such as those in Syria and South Sudan”, the spokesperson quoted Bowden as saying.

In 2013, the number of Afghan people in need of access to health increased from 3.3 to 5.4 million, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. A total of 2.2 million people were “very severely food insecure” while another eight million are “food insecure”.

Similarly, more than half a million people needed shelter and non-food assistance, as most parts of the country were highly exposed to displacement caused by ongoing conflict and natural disaster.

Humanitarian needs surged amid raging violence, which has caused disruption of services, displacement and injury to civilians across the country. More than 630,000 people have so far been internally displaced, with 124,000 rendered homeless in 2013 alone, up 25 percent from 2012.

IANS