WHO says medical supplies to run out within days in Afghanistan, hopes to establish air bridge soon

Rick Brennan, regional emergency director of the WHO’s eastern mediterranean office, said that humanitarian needs across Afghanistan are “enormous and growing.”
Due to the security concerns in the Kabul international airport, Brennan said that it would not be suitable for the supply of aid in Afghanistan. In picture - Taliban fighters stand guard outside the airport.(AP)
Due to the security concerns in the Kabul international airport, Brennan said that it would not be suitable for the supply of aid in Afghanistan. In picture - Taliban fighters stand guard outside the airport.(AP)
Published on Aug 27, 2021 04:56 PM IST
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Written by Srivatsan K C | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said that the medical supplies in Afghanistan would run out in a few days and hoped to establish an air bridge into the country with the help of Pakistan before the supplies ran out.

Rick Brennan, regional emergency director of the WHO’s eastern mediterranean office, said that humanitarian needs across Afghanistan are “enormous and growing.” He also said that trauma kits, emergency supplies for hospitals and medicines for treating chronic malnutrition in children were among the priority items in the medical supply.

Following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, several countries have been evacuating their citizens and diplomatic officers, along with Afghan nationals who want to flee the country, via the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The US has said that it would pull all its troops out of the country by August 31, before which the evacuations have been continuing frantically. Meanwhile, two explosions rocked the Kabul airport earlier on Thursday in which several civilians along with US armed personnel were killed.

Also read | Taliban return but war isn’t over. Know the groups vying to take control of Afghanistan

Due to the security concerns in the Kabul international airport, Brennan said that it would not be suitable for the supply of aid in Afghanistan. “Right now because of security concerns and several other operational considerations, Kabul airport is not going to be an option for the next week at least,” news agency Reuters quoted him as saying during a press briefing.

Further, he also said that the WHO is working with the Pakistani authorities to establish an air bridge into Afghanistan. “One of the problems we have in Afghanistan right now is there is no civil aviation authority functioning but we are working with Pakistan particularly in the context of Mazar-i-Sharif airport. Because they can work with contacts on the ground that all the necessary steps to land an aircraft, to land a cargo aircraft, can be put in place,” he added.

Mentioning that insurance prices for flying into Afghanistan have “skyrocketed to prices never seen before,” Brennan said, “So we are trying to jump through that hoop at the moment and once we have addressed that we will hopefully be airborne in the next 48 to 72 hours.”

(With Reuters inputs)

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