UN agency warns of critical funding gaps for Afghanistan ahead of winter

The UN has reiterated its concerns over the lack of funds for providing humanitarian assistance to millions of vulnerable people across Afghanistan.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General said that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has warned that aid operations in the country face a critical funding gap as humanitarian needs remain severe. 

“More than halfway through the year, the $3.2 billion appeal to help more than 21 million people across the country is less than 25 percent funded,” Haq said.

He added that the UN has been forced to halt many aid assistance programs in the country due to a shortage of funds.

“We face critical funding gaps amounting to $1.3 billion, with many programs already ended or considerably scaled back due to insufficient resources and aid pipelines at risk of imminent rupture, including for food assistance,” the UN official said.

“Our humanitarian colleagues warn that we only have a short window of opportunity to procure and position vital assistance and supplies before the lean season and winter begin,” Haq added.

Meanwhile, millions of people in Afghanistan are facing hardship due to a lack of employment and the deteriorating economic situation.

Economic experts also expressed concern over the consequences of prolonged unemployment, declining domestic and foreign revenues, and various restrictions and resource scarcities. Such factors are likely to exacerbate the already challenging economic conditions faced by the population.

Earlier assessments by the World Bank underscore the severity of the situation, revealing a sharp decline in per capita income for people in Afghanistan.

In just one year, from 2021 onwards, per capita income plummeted from $500 to less than $350, indicating a significant decline in the standard of living for many.