US Pledges $308 Mln In Humanitarian Assistance To Afghanistan

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The United States has announced a new contribution of more than $308 million in humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan.

This brings total U.S. humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and for Afghan refugees in the region to nearly $782 million since October 2021, making the United States the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance in the war-ravaged country.

In addition, the United States is providing the people of Afghanistan one million additional Covid-19 vaccine doses through COVAX. It brings the total number of vaccine shots that Washington provided free of cost to $4.3 million.

Though the White House says the new humanitarian assistance by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will directly flow through independent humanitarian organizations, it is not clear how will they manage to reach the targeted people evading the ruling Taliban regime.

The U.S. aid will help provide lifesaving protection and shelter, essential health care, winterization assistance, emergency food aid, water, sanitation, and hygiene services in response to the growing humanitarian needs exacerbated by the pandemic and healthcare shortages, drought, malnutrition, and the winter season.

"The United States is committed to supporting the Afghan people and we continue to consider all options available to us," NSC Spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement.

On the same day of the U.S. aid pledge, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations launched joint response plans aiming to deliver vital humanitarian relief to 22 million people in Afghanistan and support 5.7 million displaced Afghans and local communities in five neighboring countries.

The humanitarian and refugee response plans combined require over US$5 billion in international funding in 2022.

People in Afghanistan face one of the world's most rapidly growing humanitarian crises, according to the UN Refugee Agency. Half of the population face acute hunger, more than 9 million people are displaced, millions of children are out of school, fundamental rights of women and girls are under attack, farmers and herders are struggling amidst the worst drought in decades, and the economy is in free fall.

Without support, tens of thousands of children are at risk of dying from malnutrition as basic health services have collapsed after the Taliban takeover.

According to UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe looms in Afghanistan.

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