San Francisco Chronicle
Stark warning from U.N. on Afghan needs
The plight of the Afghan people came into stark relief Monday when top United Nations officials warned that millions of people could run out of food before the arrival of winter and 1 million children could die if their immediate needs are not met.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, speaking at a U.N. conference in Geneva convened to address the crisis, said that since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the nation’s poverty rate is soaring, basic public services are close to collapse, and, in the past year, hundreds of thousands of people have been made homeless after being forced to flee fighting.
“After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour,” Guterres said, adding that 1 in 3 Afghans do not know for sure where they will get their next meal.
Guterres said more than $1 billion in aid pledges had been made at the meeting by the international community. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, America’s ambassador to the United Nations, promised $64 million in new funding for food and medical aid. That brings the U.S. total for Afghanistan to $330 million in this fiscal year, she said.
Even before the Taliban
swept across the country and took control of the government, Afghanistan was confronting a dire food crisis as drought enveloped the nation.
The suffering wrought by conflict and made worse by climate change has been compounded by the uncertainty that has accompanied the Taliban’s ascent, with many international aid workers having fled the country out of safety concerns.