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UN appeals for $589mn to support Afghanistan, neighboring countries

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched an international appeal Tuesday for more than $589 million to respond to the urgent humanitarian and protection needs of communities in Afghanistan and six neighboring countries.

The IOM, the UN agency dealing with migration, needs the money to assist more than 3.6 million crisis-affected persons and strengthen the communities’ resilience and recovery.

“The ongoing crisis in Afghanistan is intensifying humanitarian needs and increasing displacement risks both inside the country as well as across borders to countries in the region,” said Ugochi Daniels, IOM Deputy Director General for Operations.

The IOM’s revised Comprehensive Action Plan for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries says it builds on its expertise in responding to migration and displacement crises.

“Nearly six months after the August 2021 political upheaval and resulting political transition, more than half of the Afghan population are now in need of humanitarian assistance, which is 30% more than last year,” said Daniels.

He said Afghanistan faces a real risk of systemic collapse and humanitarian catastrophe “as nearly all Afghans have now plunged into poverty.”

When the IOM initially launched its plan for Afghanistan and neighboring countries in September 2021, it said political, social and economic shocks in Afghanistan had reverberated across the country and the region.

As a result, more than 700,000 Afghans were driven into displacement in 2021, adding to around 5.5 million people already in protracted displacement by mid-August 2021.

“Afghans, and in particular women and girls, are facing increasing vulnerabilities and protection risks,” said the IOM.

The organization had observed increased cross-border movement in the past year.

Given the risk of further deterioration of Afghanistan’s socio-economic and security situation, internal displacement and cross-border movements — mainly to Iran and Pakistan — are likely to continue in the coming months, said the IOM.

As needs are growing, a failure to sustain and improve access to essential services and restore livelihoods affected by the crisis will increase displacement trends and population outflows within and across borders, warned the IOM.

The organization said its health operations, active in 12 out of 34 provinces in Afghanistan, continue to provide health care to some of the hardest-to-reach populations, including COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

In some cases, they had received no assistance in the decades before the arrival of the IOM’s teams.​​​​​​​