With Basic Services on the Brink of Collapse UN has Pledged to Remain in Afghanistan

The flights evacuating civilians from Afghanistan may have ended, but the humanitarian crisis in the country is worsening, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday, as several senior UN officials reaffirmed their commitment to stay and deliver desperately needed supplies to the country’s millions of people.

Mr. Guterres underlined his grave concern in a statement released on Tuesday about the country’s worsening humanitarian and economic catastrophe, as well as the possibility of a total collapse of fundamental services. Mr. Guterres said, “Now more than ever Afghan children, women and men need the support and solidarity of the international community”.

Afghanistan is suffering from a severe drought, and its inhabitants will confront tough winter circumstances, highlighting the need for supplies to be supplied to the country as soon as possible, according to Mr. Guterres.

Given the dire situation, the UN chief urged all parties to ensure secure and unhindered humanitarian access for life-saving and life-sustaining supplies, as well as for all humanitarian personnel, emphasizing that this included both men and women in the field.

Although the UN health agency was planned two additional supply flights this week, WHO spokesman Dr. Margaret Harris said the organization wanted “continual flights” to restore basic services.

She cautioned that 12.2 million people were already expected to face food instability and hunger prior to the Taliban’s takeover; getting supplies into Afghanistan was “absolutely critical,” she stated.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, also briefed journalists in Geneva on Tuesday, urging neighboring countries to maintain their borders open to Afghan refugees.

Around 3.5 million people are displaced within the country, and many of those wishing to cross into countries like Pakistan or Iran may lack the necessary documents, according to UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic. While many of those crossing into Pakistan did not “express a clear intention to seek asylum” to border monitors, they “nevertheless have international protection needs,” he said, and “may not be able to cross without passports and visa documentation”.

PC: https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/08/1098862