Afghanistan crisis: US to donate $308 million, COVID-19 vaccines
The United States aims to provide an additional $308 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, said the White House in a statement on Tuesday. The White House also stated that one million new COVID-19 vaccine doses will be delivered to Afghanistan. The US Agency for International Development's (USAID) aid will be administered through independent humanitarian organizations to offer shelter, health care, etc.
Why does this story matter?
- After the Taliban seized power in August as the last American forces withdrew, Afghanistan's economic situation worsened.
- Due to the radical Islamist group's controversial rule—which involved public beheadings in the 1990s—global leaders have been reluctant to extend aid.
- However, Afghan civilians are suffering as the Taliban is "steadily destroying" progress in terms of human rights, according to Amnesty International.
UN calls for $5B aid for Afghanistan
On Tuesday, the United Nations estimated that $5 billion was needed for aid in Afghanistan. The UN said more than half of the Afghan population (approximately 22 million people) suffered from acute hunger, and 5.7 million Afghans living in five neighboring countries required immediate assistance. "Don't shut the door on the people of Afghanistan," said UN Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths.
'Without action, 50% kids will be malnourished'
"Afghanistan was descending into the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world," UNICEF chief of communications Sam Mort told Al Jazeera, adding that the magnitude of pain is extraordinary. If nothing is done, one out of every two children will be acutely malnourished, Mort said. Afghanistan is also "experiencing the worst drought in 27 years, rising food poverty and unemployment," Mort added.
What's the current situation in Afghanistan?
Currently, there are 2.6 million Afghan refugees listed globally, with another 3.5 million internally displaced. Nearly 4 million Afghan children have dropped out of school, and the country's severe economic situation is forcing more parents to send their children to work, according to UNHCR. Further, approximately 3.2 million Afghan children under the age of five are acutely malnourished, according to UNICEF.