UN / AFGHANISTAN WFP UPDATE

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06-Oct-2021 00:02:37
WFP top official in Afghanistan on Wednesday urged the international community to provide the resources to mount “a large-scale operation” in a race against time to help millions of vulnerable Afghans. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / AFGHANISTAN WFP UPDATE
TRT: 2:37
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 6 OCTOBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE

1.Exterior shot, UN Headquarters

6 OCTOBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2.Wide shot, press room,
3.SOUNDBITE (English) Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP Representative and Country Director in Afghanistan:
“The event on15th of August resulted in a freezing of the foreign reserves, and the suspension of development, and on budget assistance and the consequences have just been devastating. The economy is on the brink of collapse here in Afghanistan. The cash liquidity crisis, banks had closed the doors while they're now open. You can only take out USD 200 a week. Savings are inaccessible to the people that had that little bit of money in the bank. The Afghan currency depreciated significantly.”
4.Wide shot, press room,
5.SOUNDBITE (English) Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP Representative and Country Director in Afghanistan:
“So, the drought and the economic crisis coming together is pushing people to the very brink of survival. People are selling their household goods, their carpets their white goods, their […] cups and plates to buy food. They are not eating every day, they are decreasing the portion sizes, they're eating less healthy foods, and many parents are promoting food so that their children can eat.”
6.Wide shot, press room,
7.SOUNDBITE (English) Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP Representative and Country Director in Afghanistan:
“And it's going to get worse. Winter is on our doorstep. And we’ll have a harsh winter in Afghanistan with fuel prices going up, people who are going to struggle to feed themselves and keep themselves warm. I have been a long time with the WFP and it's the first time I've seen a crisis like this escalate and accelerate at the pace and scale that it is.”
8.Wide shot, press room,
9.SOUNDBITE (English) Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP Representative and Country Director in Afghanistan:
“The combined effort of the UN agencies on the ground. WFP UNICEF, UNHCR WHO, IOM, FAO, UNFPA have reached close to 5 million people just in September, with different sort of assistance and WFP has reached 3.8 million people with food assistance. But we need to be doing much, much, much more.”
10.Wide shot, press room,
11.SOUNDBITE (English) Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP Representative and Country Director in Afghanistan:
“The destitution, the devastation that's wrecking this country is just unfolding before our eyes. And I just urge, urge, the international community, you know, to provide the resources that we need to to mount a large, large scale operation and run a race against time at this stage.”
12.Wide shot, press room,

STORYLINE:

WFP top official in Afghanistan on Wednesday (6 Oct) urged the international community to provide the resources to mount “a large-scale operation” in a race against time to help millions of vulnerable Afghans.

Afghanistan was already among the world’s worst humanitarian situations prior to the Taliban assuming power in August, which has deepened existing needs and vulnerabilities. 

“The event on 15th of August resulted in a freezing of the foreign reserves, and the suspension of development, and on budget assistance and the consequences have just been devastating. The economy is on the brink of collapse here in Afghanistan. The cash liquidity crisis, banks had closed the doors while they're now open. You can only take out USD 200 a week. Savings are inaccessible to the people that had that little bit of money in the bank. The Afghan currency depreciated significantly,” Mary-Ellen McGroarty, the WFP Representative and Country Director in Afghanistan described a bleak situation facing many Afghans every day.

She said that “the drought and the economic crisis coming together is pushing people to the very brink of survival,” and that many Afghans “are selling their household goods” in order to buy food.

“They are not eating every day, they are decreasing the portion sizes, they're eating less healthy foods, and many parents are promoting food so that their children can eat,” Mc Groarty said.

A USD 606 million flash appeal launched in September to assist more than 10 million vulnerable Afghans is less than 40 per cent funded.

Humanitarians working in the country warned that donor pledges and commitments must urgently be turned into reality before it is too late.

“The combined effort of the UN agencies on the ground - WFP UNICEF, UNHCR WHO, IOM, FAO, UNFPA have reached close to 5 million people just in September, with different sort of assistance and WFP has reached 3.8 million people with food assistance. But we need to be doing much, much, much more,” WFP Representative said.

Nearly half the population, more than 18 million people, require aid assistance to survive, while conflict and insecurity have displaced more than 3.5 million, with nearly 700,000 uprooted this year alone.

The country’s health system is failing and the economy is on the brink of collapse. The rights of women and girls, and minorities, are also seriously under threat.

“And it's going to get worse. Winter is on our doorstep. And we’ll have a harsh winter in Afghanistan with fuel prices going up, people who are going to struggle to feed themselves and keep themselves warm. I have been a long time with the WFP and it's the first time I've seen a crisis like this escalate and accelerate at the pace and scale that it is.” said Ms. McGroarty, stressing that families desperately need support as the colder weather approaches.

Last month, humanitarians provided food assistance to more than 3.8 million Afghans, and treated some 21,000 children under five, as well as 10,000 women, for acute malnutrition.

Additionally, 32,000 people received blankets, warm clothes and other non-food items, and 450,000 were reached with primary and secondary healthcare. Support was also provided in areas such as education, farming, and mental health.

The UN agencies and partners urged countries to allow the swift and unfettered movement of aid relief, as well as their personnel, into and out of Afghanistan. 

Humanitarian financial exemptions are also needed so that funding can reach aid organizations on the ground.

They further underlined their commitment to deliver unconditional aid based on need, in line with the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence.
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