Humanitarian catastrophe looms in Afghanistan, warns UN chief

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

New York [US], September 1 (ANI): United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday (local time) warned of a looming humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan as the last US troops left the country.

According to CNN, Guterres expressed grave concern at what he said was the "deepening humanitarian and economic crisis" in Afghanistan as the country entered what he called "a new phase."

"A humanitarian catastrophe looms" in Afghanistan, he said.

"Today, almost half of the population of Afghanistan - 18 million people - need humanitarian assistance to survive," CNN quoted Guterres as saying.

"Next week, we will release details of the most immediate humanitarian needs and funding requirements over the next four months in a Flash Appeal for Afghanistan," he said, adding that he urges member states to "dig deep" for the people of Afghanistan.

He said, "I urge them to provide timely, flexible and comprehensive funding".

Earlier on Monday, a UN shipment carrying lifesaving medical supplies reached Afghanistan by air. It was the first UN shipment since the Taliban takeover on August 15.

There are nearly 10 million children in Afghanistan "in desperate need of humanitarian aid", said UNICEF Afghanistan Representative, Herve Ludovic De Lys, adding that these children are deprived of their right to a healthy and protected childhood.

He said that against a backdrop of conflict and insecurity, children are living in communities that are running out of water because of drought.

"They're missing life-saving vaccines, including against polio, a disease that can paralyze children for life. Many are so malnourished they lie in hospital beds too weak to grasp an outstretched finger," he said.

"These children are deprived of their right to a healthy and protected childhood", he added. (ANI)

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