31 March, 2022
Today’s international pledging conference on Afghanistan has fallen far short of its target, putting millions of lives at risk and leaving vulnerable families without food, medicine and other vital aid.
With the country teetering on the edge of economic meltdown and nine million people on the verge of famine, pledges at today’s conference amounted to just over half of what is needed. Donors pledged $2.44 billion of the $4.4 billion that is required to fund the UN’s humanitarian appeal. Islamic Relief is calling for urgent action to save lives and salvage the economy.
In reaction to the conference, Umair Hasan, Islamic Relief Worldwide’s Country Director in Afghanistan, said:
“It’s disappointing that international donors have failed to provide more support the people of Afghanistan at their time of need. We see on the ground how aid is saving lives, but there is not enough to go around and many people are left without. It is ordinary Afghans who will suffer as a result of this shortfall in funding.
“Afghanistan is facing economic collapse. Millions of people are going hungry and don’t know how they will feed their children. Thousands of health facilities have closed down and children are dying from illnesses that could easily be prevented. Doctors, teachers and other vital workers have not been paid their salaries for months.
“People here need help now, before it is too late. Lives are at stake and we hope more funding will be pledged beyond today’s conference. We are calling on the international community to fully fund the UN’s humanitarian appeal and support a sustainable solution to reverse the rapid economic decline. Aid alone cannot replace a functioning economy.”
While the world’s spotlight remains on the devastating crisis in Ukraine, this is the second major pledging conference to fall short this month for other major crises around the world. The recent pledging conference for Yemen raised less than one third of what was needed – just $1.3 billion of a target of $4.3 billion.
Islamic Relief is calling for immediate life-saving humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, along with action to save the economy and boost people’s livelihoods. International sanctions and the freezing of foreign reserves and development assistance have exacerbated the liquidity crisis. It is vital that more support is given to Afghanistan’s central bank, and that international banks are given more reassurance that they are able to transfer funds into the country. Increased efforts are needed to support the private sector and ensure that salaries are paid so that essential public services can run.
Islamic Relief Worldwide has worked in Afghanistan since 1999 and currently provides food, healthcare and support for livelihoods in some of the most vulnerable communities across the country.