UN / AFGHANISTAN HUMANITARIAN PRESSER

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18-Aug-2021 00:04:41
UNICEF has been in Afghanistan for 65 years and “we are not leaving,” the agency said on Wednesday, while the WFP warned of “a humanitarian crisis of incredible portions” unfolding in the country and the UNHCR reported that 80 percent of displaced Afghans are women and children, in need for shelter, health care, sanitation, and other core relief items. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / AFGHANISTAN HUMANITARIAN PRESSER
TRT: 4:44
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 18 AUGUST 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

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1. Exterior shot, UN Headquarters

18 AUGUST 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, press room with McGroarty on screen
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Mary Ellen McGroarty, Afghanistan Country Director, World Food Programme (WFP):
“In Afghanistan here today a humanitarian crisis of incredible portions is unfolding before our eyes. 14 million people are facing severe hunger. The conflict has combined with drought and the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 to push an already dire situation into a (…) catastrophe.”
4. Wide shot, press room with McGroarty on screen
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Mary Ellen McGroarty, Afghanistan Country Director, World Food Programme (WFP):
"We are actively reaching out to the new authorities for unimpeded humanitarian access. Since the control of the borders has changed, we are working on processes to for the free movement of food across the border. With the winter looming we need to pre-position food to people, to communities to regions before winter cutoff by the snow. We also urgently need the resources to support this effort, and we need those resources now.”
6. Wide shot, press room with Van Buren on screen
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Caroline Van Buren, Afghanistan Country Representative, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“Currently, the overwhelming majority of displacement is taking place within Afghanistan itself. That's where humanitarian efforts also need to be focused. Over half a million people have been displaced within the country since the beginning of the year. Acute humanitarian needs are now spiraling". 80 percent of those forced to flee within the country are women and children, they need shelter, health care, sanitation, and other core relief items. Most of all they need safety and stability.”
8. Wide shot, press room with Van Buren on screen
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Caroline Van Buren, Afghanistan Country Representative, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“The situation remains highly unpredictable. Isolated fighting and insecurity is continuing. The Taliban has given public assurances as to the safety of civilians and upholding of human rights, including the rights of women and girls. While we welcome those commitments, it's essential, they are also swiftly translated into action.”
10. Cutaway, reporters
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Caroline Van Buren, Afghanistan Country Representative, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“UNHCR has issued a non-return advisory on Afghanistan this week. Given the dramatic change of circumstances and prevailing uncertainty, we are calling on states to suspend the forcible return of Afghan nationals, including asylum seekers who have previously had their claims rejected. We echo the Secretary-General's call for protection of civilians and unimpeded humanitarian access within Afghanistan, and the reception of Afghan refugees outside the country.”
12. Wide shot, press room with De Lys on screen
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Herve De Lys, Afghanistan Country Representative, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):
“Despite all the unanswered questions that lie ahead, one thing is certain; UNICEF is here to stay and deliver for every child and every woman in Afghanistan. UNICEF has been here for 65 years and we are not leaving.”
14. Wide shot, press room with De Lys on screen
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Herve De Lys, Afghanistan Country Representative, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):
"We have been engaging constructively with the new leadership to preserve operational presence across the country. And we are hopeful that we will scale that our work for women, and children in the coming days.”
16. Wide shot, press room with De Lys on screen
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Herve De Lys, Afghanistan Country Representative, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):
“We are also hopeful that we can take a giant strike on polio. Afghanistan is one of the two polio endemic countries in the world. One of our biggest challenges in recent years has been access to communities, including homes and mosques to vaccinate children. We are hopeful that access will become easier and believe that with partners such as the Gates Foundation, we have an opportunity to eradicate polio, through our ongoing effective coordination with the World Health Organization.”
18. Wide shot, press room with De Lys on screen
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Herve De Lys, Afghanistan Country Representative, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):
"This is indeed a period of transition in Afghanistan and no one can predict what is going to happen next. But I can tell you that as recently as yesterday, primary and secondary schools were open in Herat in the west, and Maruf in the south of the country, and 1500 children were in school including 500 girls. The fact that the health commissioner yesterday asked all doctors, nurses and health workers to return to work, including women, is an encouraging sign.”
20. Wide shot, press room

STORYLINE:

UNICEF has been in Afghanistan for 65 years and “we are not leaving,” the UNICEF's top official in Afghanistan said on Wednesday, while the WFP warned of “a humanitarian crisis of incredible portions” unfolding in the country and the UNHCR reported that 80 percent of internally displaced Afghans are women and children, in need for shelter, health care, sanitation, and other core relief items.

Top officials of three UN humanitarian agencies in Afghanistan – World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), jointly briefed the press in New York via videolink from Afghanistan's capital Kabul.

Opening the briefing, WFPs Afghanistan Country Director Mary Ellen McGroarty said “in Afghanistan here today a humanitarian crisis of incredible portions is unfolding before our eyes. 14 million people are facing severe hunger. The conflict has combined with drought and the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 to push an already dire situation into a (…) catastrophe.”

"We are actively reaching out to the new authorities for unimpeded humanitarian access,” McGroarty said, adding that ever since the Taliban took control of the Afghanistan's borders, “we are working on processes to for the free movement of food across the border.”

With the winter looming, it is essential to pre-position food before the snow cutoff the roads, she said.

WFP would need some USD 200 million to do so, according to McGroarty.

“We also urgently need the resources to support this effort, and we need those resources now,” WFP's Mary Ellen McGroarty said.

UNHCR's Country Representative Caroline Van Buren said that “currently, the overwhelming majority of displacement is taking place within Afghanistan itself,” with over half a million people displaced within the country since the beginning of the year.

“Acute humanitarian needs are now spiraling," she said. “Eighty percent of those forced to flee within the country are women and children, they need shelter, health care, sanitation, and other core relief items. Most of all they need safety and stability.”

Van Buren also said that he UNHCR has issued “a non-return advisory on Afghanistan” this week, asking countries "to suspend the forcible return of Afghan nationals, including asylum seekers who have previously had their claims rejected.”

“The situation remains highly unpredictable. Isolated fighting and insecurity is continuing. The Taliban has given public assurances as to the safety of civilians and upholding of human rights, including the rights of women and girls. While we welcome those commitments, it's essential, they are also swiftly translated into action,” she said.

Herve De Lys, UNICEF's Afghanistan Country Representative said “despite all the unanswered questions that lie ahead, one thing is certain; UNICEF is here to stay and deliver for every child and every woman in Afghanistan. UNICEF has been here for 65 years and we are not leaving.”

De Lys said that the UNICEF "have been engaging constructively with the new leadership to preserve operational presence across the country. And we are hopeful that we will scale that our work for women, and children in the coming days.”

He said he is hopeful the UNICEF staff will reach those in need in previously inaccessible areas.

“We are also hopeful that we can take a giant strike on polio,” De Lys said. “Afghanistan is one of the two polio endemic countries in the world. One of our biggest challenges in recent years has been access to communities, including homes and mosques to vaccinate children. We are hopeful that access will become easier and believe that with partners such as the Gates Foundation, we have an opportunity to eradicate polio, through our ongoing effective coordination with the World Health Organization.”

He also said "this is indeed a period of transition in Afghanistan and no one can predict what is going to happen next. But I can tell you that as recently as yesterday, primary and secondary schools were open in Herat in the west, and Maruf in the south of the country, and 1500 children were in school including 500 girls. The fact that the health commissioner yesterday asked all doctors, nurses and health workers to return to work, including women, is an encouraging sign.”
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