Brussels (Brussels Morning) The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) called on Thursday for US$ 24 million in aid for Afghanistan to support displaced people.
Separately, the US announced it was taking steps to make sure humanitarian aid can continue to reach people in Afghanistan, according to Reuters reporting on Thursday.
The US administration has been in contact with its humanitarian partners in Afghanistan in the last few days, discussing their capacity to continue supporting Afghans despite US sanctions against the Taliban, a US Treasury Department official noted.
“We are taking steps to allow for humanitarian aid to continue in a way that benefits the Afghan people,” the official pointed out and added that US President Joe Biden discussed humanitarian aid plans with other G7 leaders earlier this week.
In the US, the Taliban are listed as a terrorist group and under sanctions that include asset freezes and prohibit US entities from dealing with the group, which includes donation of services, goods or funds.
Situation difficult and worsening
The IOM pointed out that roughly 50% of Afghans required humanitarian aid at the start of the year, including about ten million children, warning that their needs are expected to rise.
IOM’s appeal comes as Western forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan and scrambling to evacuate as many people as they can before the 31 August deadline.
“Our humanitarian activities continue where possible, depending on access and security,” noted Stuart Simpson, IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission.
“Large-scale displacement driven by conflict and drought, and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, are increasing poverty and food insecurity, generating massive humanitarian and protection needs in the country,” Simpson warned in a statement.
The IOM pointed out that its priorities include providing roughly 5.5 million internally displaced Afghans with water, sanitation, shelter and hygiene. It noted that more than 550,000 Afghans have been internally displaced this year, almost half in the period since July.