Afghanistan vulnerable to hunger, illness after Taliban takeover: WHO raises alarm

The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, has also called for "continuous support" to ensure necessary humanitarian assistance in the country and expressed its concern regarding the "prevailing humanitarian needs within Afghanistan".
Migrants, mainly from Afghanistan, are seen after they were detained by Turkish security forces during an operation in the border city of Van, Turkey late August 21, 2021. (Murad Sezer / REUTERS)
Migrants, mainly from Afghanistan, are seen after they were detained by Turkish security forces during an operation in the border city of Van, Turkey late August 21, 2021. (Murad Sezer / REUTERS)
Published on Aug 22, 2021 07:02 AM IST
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Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Meenakshi Ray

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has triggered a series of humanitarian crises across the country, not the least of which is a worsening healthcare situation. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday issued a statement raising an alarm over the healthcare situation in Afghanistan, where conflict had left countless people vulnerable to hunger and illnesses. According to the public health body's estimates, around half of Afghanistan's population, which includes more than four million women and nearly 10 million children, are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

Also Read | Haunted by Syrian war, Europe seeks to avoid influx of migrants from Afghanistan

According to reports, the UN agency's spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said in a statement that the current drought in Afghanistan is expected to worsen an already dire situation. "Continuity of health services must continue without interruption across the country, with a focus on ensuring women have access to female health workers," said the WHO spokesperson. "Most major health facilities are functional. And this is based on provincial-level field monitoring. Health workers have been called to return to or to remain at their posts, including female health staff."

Notably, the United Kingdom has said that it will administer vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to Afghan refugees coming to the country on fleeing the Taliban. England, Scotland, and Wales are also accessing emergency funds for providing housing and support to the arriving Afghans, reports said, adding that so far the UK has decided to double its amount of humanitarian aid in the region. The country is also looking to resettle around 20,000 vulnerable Afghans under a new resettlement programme.

Also Read | 7,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14, says Pentagon

The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, has also called for "continuous support" to ensure necessary humanitarian assistance in the country and expressed its concern regarding the "prevailing humanitarian needs within Afghanistan". In a statement issued on Friday, the UN agency said the situation on the ground across the country remains extremely fluid.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021