UN 2017 appeal for Afghanistan tops half a billion dollars

24 Jan 17

The United Nations is appealing for $550m in 2017 to support its humanitarian response plan for Afghanistan launched yesterday.

 

Funding is needed to help vulnerable and marginalised people in the war-torn country through the provision of shelter, food, health care, nutrition, safe water and sanitation.

Around 5.7 million are expected to be reached by the UN’s Afghanistan 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan, which falls under the remit of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Under the plan, $240m will be set aside for interventions to assist refugees and ‘returnees’ – Afghan nationals returning to the country often after being denied the legal right to remain elsewhere.

Specifically, the plan will focus on providing relief to Afghans affected by natural disaster and conflict, trauma care for war wounded patients and treatment to children with acute malnutrition. It also aims to enable greater access to skilled birth and maternal care in conflict stricken and hard-to-access districts, and ensure the safety and security of families fleeing violence.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted that Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous, crisis-ridden countries in the world.

The Taliban has made steady inroads against Western-backed government forces in Afghanistan since the vast majority of coalition forces pulled out of the country in 2014.

According to the UN, the deepening conflict, which is also spreading geographically, has prompted a 13% increase in the number of people who need humanitarian assistance, which now stands at 9.3 million.

In the first nine months of 2016, almost 8,400 civilian casualties were reported, which is the highest figure since 2009. This included a 15% increase in child casualties from 2015.

Last year the conflict led to unprecedented levels of displacement of people, which rose to half a million in November, representing the highest number to date, the UN said. Each day, another 1,500 people are forced to leave their homes to escape violence.

Last year, 600,000 registered refugees and undocumented Afghans returned to the country from Pakistan. With few expectations of an improved state of affairs, 2017 could see 450,000 new internally displaced people, and potentially another million Afghans returned from Pakistan and Iran.   

Mark Bowden, resident humanitarian coordinator for the United Nations in the country, called Afghanistan “one of the most protracted humanitarian emergencies in the world.”

He confirmed that new patterns of displacement within the country necessitated a longer-term approach to help those in need. “Not only have the number of people displaced increased but almost all of the country is now affected by the conflict and every province of the country has received displaced families.”

 

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