ACHRS Statements

Afghans need urgent humanitarian assistance

 

A recent report highlights the chaotic situation faced by Afghans. Many pandemics hit the country and the barely existing health system is unable to protect Afghans efficiently. ACHRS calls on the international community to react and to help support vulnerable people.

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Following recent reports published by the World Health Organization, it was revealed that cases of measles are dramatically increasing in the country. In January only, 156 persons were killed and 35.000 cases were reported. Children are the first victims since 90% of the cases are aged under five. The spread of measles is facilitated by the underdeveloped healthcare system. Most of the cases are located in rural and mountainous areas where the hospitals are barely existing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), only 60% of the Afghan population is vaccinated against measles while a 95% immunization coverage is needed to halt the progress of this disease.

The insecure situation in the country makes it easier for measles to spread. Indeed, malnutrition is one of the main causes explaining the increase of the disease. The dramatic economic and financial crisis happening in the country since the Taliban took power last Summer led to one of the world’s worst current humanitarian crises.

In addition to measles, other diseases have dramatic effects on Afghans. These include dengue fever and malaria but also COVID-19 which killed more than 7.500 people and infected 170.000 others. Hospitals are facing severe difficulties to answer these epidemics since the healthcare system depends on funding that is now lacking.

The needs of the population hit by the humanitarian crises are numerous and include access to shelter, food, water, healthcare, and education. Humanitarian aid is therefore vital for many Afghans who depend on it to survive. The national budget that used to be highly dependent on foreign aid has been strongly weakened since the international community withdrew its financial support after the Taliban took the power. The UN Security Council adopted on 22nd December 2021 the resolution 2615 that decided that “humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan are not a violation of paragraph 1 (a) of resolution 2255”. This measure exempts humanitarian assistance from the sanctions regime, and payments of funds and other economic resources with humanitarian purposes are now permitted.

ACHRS calls on the international community to answer the needs of the Afghan people who are the first victims of the political change in the country. Helping Afghans does not mean supporting the regime in place. The international community should also focus on developing greater immunization coverage, the only way to prevent the progression of many diseases among the population and to protect the most vulnerable, including children and disabled persons. Following the UN resolution 2615 that exempts humanitarian assistance from sanctions, the international community should now act as rapidly as possible to halt the progression of diseases that cause severe damage to the Afghan people.

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