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AFGHANISTAN: US$600 million appeal for humanitarian aid

KABUL, 3 February 2009 (IRIN) - The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Afghan government and dozens of NGOs jointly launched on 3 February an appeal for over US$600 million in humanitarian aid.

The Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP) was drawn up by OCHA and dozens of partner agencies.

“The HAP presents a selected and prioritised set of 112 project proposals from 39 NGOs and eight UN organisations for a total of US$603,981,153 for urgent consideration by the donor community,” says the plan’s executive summary.

More projects will also be included in the plan in future, it says.

Aid agencies will use the requested funds to tackle worsening food insecurity and provide basic health services, education, shelter and protection to millions of vulnerable people.

“The HAP identifies a set of urgent needs and requests donor funding to address those needs. All the needs are important and we want to urge the donors to commit the funding to allow humanitarian actors to act quickly and meet the needs,” Wael Haj-Ibrahim, head of the OCHA country office, told IRIN on 3 February.

OCHA will not be part of the HAP implementation, but will lead coordination mechanisms and continue to lobby for funding, he said.

Worsening humanitarian conditions

Since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, over $15 billion of aid has been pumped into the country, but humanitarian conditions are deteriorating.

High food prices, drought and conflict have pushed about eight million of the country’s estimated 27 million people into high-risk food insecurity.

The insurgency has led to displacement and suffering, while natural disasters have compounded problems.

“Extreme poverty and lack of development have also left the population more susceptible during times of crisis and emergency, limiting their coping strategies and draining contingency reserves,” says the plan, which refers to corruption and the weak rule of law as other major problems.

Increasingly insecurity has become the most pressing challenge for communities and aid organisations alike.

Dozens of aid workers were killed or kidnapped and many humanitarian convoys attacked by insurgents and criminal groups in 2008. Consequently large areas - especially in the south, centre and east - have become inaccessible for independent aid action.

“People in need should receive unconditional assistance as and when they need it,” said OCHA’s Haj-Ibrahim.


Theme(s): (IRIN) Aid Policy



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