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UN chief urges aid to Afghans in ”hour of need”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “grave concern at the deepening humanitarian crisis in the country” in a statement Tuesday, the first day of Taliban rule after the withdrawal of the last U.S. Forces from Afghanistan.

The United Nations chief is urging all countries to help the people of Afghanistan “in their darkest hour of need,” saying almost half the population needs humanitarian assistance to survive and the country faces the threat of basic services collapsing completely.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “grave concern at the deepening humanitarian crisis in the country” in a statement Tuesday, the first day of Taliban rule after the withdrawal of the last U.S. Forces from Afghanistan.

He offered some grim statistics of the looming “humanitarian catastrophe”: 18 million Afghans need aid to survive, one in three don’t know where their next meal will come from, over half of all children under age 5 are expected to become “acutely malnourished” in the next year, and every day people are losing access to basic goods and services.

Guterres said that “amid a severe drought and with harsh winter conditions on the horizon, extra food, shelter and health supplies must be urgently fast-tracked into the country.”

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U.N. Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the current USD 1.3 billion U.N. Humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan is only 39 per cent funded. Guterres said a new emergency appeal for the next four months is expected next week.

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