Press Conference: The situation in Afghanistan
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Press Conference by Mr. Ramiz Alakbarov, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan on the situation in Afghanistan.


Ramiz Alakbarov, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, on Thursday urged donors to step up support for Afghanistan, where ongoing drought and increased military operations amid foreign troop withdrawal, are displacing scores of civilians, creating a growing humanitarian crisis.

He said a $1.3 billion appeal, launched earlier this year, is less than 40 per cent funded.

Some 18 million Afghans, or half the population, require assistance. A third of the country is malnourished, while half of all children under five are experiencing acute malnutrition.

The $450 million received so far, half of which came from the United States, falls far short of what is needed.

“Our plan is to provide assistance to at least 15.7 million people, and right now it will not be possible without these additional contributions,” said Mr. Alakbarov, speaking via videoconference to journalists in New York.

Mr. Alakbarov has visited five regions of Afghanistan in as many weeks. The UN official was particularly concerned about the plight of women and girls, who are facing “very difficult conditions”.

He recalled speaking with the head of a household in Kandahar, located in the south, where families are moving in groups comprising some 50 to 60 relatives.

“I have asked how many women there were pregnant and delivered in the last three months while they were there on the move,” he said. “In that extended family, four women have delivered babies. Three of them died.”

Although humanitarians continue to operate in most of Afghanistan’s 405 districts, Mr. Alakbarov reported an increase in access difficulties and in violence.