UN CHIEF THANKS PAKISTAN FOR SUPPORT TO HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS

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NEW YORK, Sep 04 (DNA): United Nations Secretary-General Antonio
Guterres has thanked Pakistan and seven other countries for their
support of continuing UN operations in Afghanistan, which is facing a
major humanitarian crisis.

“The Secretary-General is indeed very grateful for the generosity of
member states – including Pakistan, Denmark, Kazakhstan, North
Macedonia, Poland, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the United States
— who have made available facilities and arrangements in support of
continuing UN operations in Afghanistan,” his Spokesman Stephane
Dujarric said at the regular noon briefing at UN Headquarters in New
York.

“With their offers and commitments, they have made a great contribution
to the safety and security, operational delivery, and overall continuity
of UN activities,” Dujarric told reporters.

The spokesman said that UN humanitarian officials in Afghanistan have
warned that the war-torn country is facing a food insecurity and
malnutrition crisis. A third of the population — more than 12 million
people — are acutely food insecure and their situation is expected to be
greatly worsened by the drought – which has impacted a third of the
country.

The officials, according to the spokesman, noted that as an economic
crisis looms, job opportunities also remain limited across the country.
They added that the 2021 harvest is expected to be below average, and
the next lean season is expected to be more intense and arrive earlier.

There is also a need to address water scarcity to prevent displacement
and reduce hunger, it was pointed out. At the beginning of 2021, nine
million people were already in need of water, sanitation, and hygiene
assistance in Afghanistan.

“Along with our humanitarian partners, we have been working to respond
to the impacts of low rainfall on water availability, crop yields,
agricultural labour opportunities, as well as affordability of food
since the beginning of the year,” Dujarric said.

In the first six months of the year, he said the UN has provided food
and livelihood assistance to more than 5.5 million people, many of whom
are in drought impacted areas, but much more is needed.

In certain parts of the country, the full impact of the drought is yet
to be felt, he said. In the last few (months), many farmers have been
unable to access their fields due to conflict at critical times for
planting and harvesting.

Afghanistan’s 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan, which requires $1.3
billion to help more than 18 million people, is 40 per cent funded,
leaving a deficit of $766 million, he said.

For its part, the UN Refugee Agency Friday said that it was seeing no
large influx of refugees trying to access the borders to Pakistan and
Iran. However, UNHCR said that a displacement crisis is, in fact, taking
place inside Afghanistan.

They warned that without the entry of trade and support, this could lead
to a major crisis and that the international community should not turn a
blind eye to Afghanistan, and the Afghans people. DNA

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