Norway boosts humanitarian support for earthquake-affected Afghanistan

Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt, said on Wednesday that Norway has escalated its efforts to assist the earthquake-affected population in Afghanistan while urging the Taliban to permit female aid workers to participate in the relief operations.

“The earthquakes in western Afghanistan have exacerbated the suffering of an already distressed population,” the foreign minister stated. “We are now intensifying Norway’s support to deliver life-saving assistance to those affected.”

“We are allocating an additional NOK 20 million [$1.8 million] through the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the World Food Program,” the minister added.

She further explained that these funds are earmarked to provide immediate life-saving aid following the earthquakes and to address the critical food shortage in Afghanistan.

The earthquake survivors are grappling with dire needs for sustenance, medical care, clean water, and shelter, Norwegian Foreign Ministry said. The contribution from Norway will, among other objectives, bolster the initiatives of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, which has dispatched multiple mobile health teams to the affected regions, as conveyed by Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The statement underscored that these humanitarian requirements arise against the backdrop of a pre-existing and severe humanitarian crisis that engulfs Afghanistan.

The United Nations estimates that in 2023, two out of every three Afghans will necessitate humanitarian assistance. A substantial portion of the Afghan populace requires support to meet fundamental humanitarian needs.

“My thoughts and condolences go out to all those who have lost family members and loved ones, as well as to the larger population, which has already endured immense suffering,” Huitfeldt expressed.

Rendering aid to women and girls in Afghanistan remains a complex challenge, the statement said.

Huitfeldt emphasized the importance of the Taliban allowing Afghan female aid workers to engage in the response, particularly because many women and children have been impacted by the earthquakes.

She said that this is imperative to ensure the targeted distribution of assistance to women and children, and Norway remains vigilant in monitoring the situation to guarantee that aid reaches those in greatest need.

According to the statement, in 2023, Norway has already contributed approximately NOK 230 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and allocated roughly NOK 530 million to bolster the provision of essential services and alleviate humanitarian distress.

The statement mentioned that Norway “does not direct any funding to the de facto authorities or the Taliban.”