The chaos at Kabul’s airport that has left at least 20 dead since last Sunday now threatens to leave Afghanistan without a supply of medicine and food, deepening a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions in the country’s 40 years of wars and, in fact, isolating millions of people under the Taliban regime.
Against this backdrop, WHO and UNICEF called for immediate access to be ensured to provide medicines, food and other life-saving materials to millions of people, including 300,000 people displaced in the past two months alone.
The airport became a kind of mirror of the chaos experienced by Afghanistan, after the fundamentalist group advanced on the capital and caused thousands of people to try to flee. The use of commercial jets has been suspended, and now medicine and food stocks are showing signs of depletion.
“While the main focus in recent days has been major air operations to evacuate Afghans, the huge humanitarian needs facing the majority of the population must not – and cannot – be neglected,” the entities said.
Even before the events of recent weeks, Afghanistan represented the third largest humanitarian operation in the world, with more than 18 million people in need of assistance. Half of the children are malnourished and the number of people who depend on help to survive has quadrupled in five years.
Both WHO and UNICEF insist they are committed to staying and delivering aid to the people of Afghanistan. “However, with no commercial aircraft currently authorized to land in Kabul, we have no way of getting supplies to the country,” the organizations indicated.
humanitarian air bridge
The UN system is currently negotiating the creation of a humanitarian air bridge to deliver aid to Afghanistan.
“Conflict, displacement, drought and the COVID-19 pandemic are all contributing to a complex and desperate situation in Afghanistan,” they warned.
“Humanitarian agencies need to be supported and facilitated to meet the huge and growing needs of Afghanistan, and ensure that no one dies needlessly due to lack of access to aid,” they added.
Prior to the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, the UN had received from the great powers only a third of the resources it requested to meet the 18 million Afghans in humanitarian crisis.