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Top UN aid official says Afghanistan ‘is not a hopeless crisis’

Afghanistan is “not a hopeless crisis,” said Edem Wosornu of the United Nations humanitarian affairs office. OCHAWar-torn Pakistan and Sudan told journalists in New York after a recent visit to the country.

Ms. Wosornu is part of an all-women delegation in Afghanistan, where the climate crisis has caused widespread water scarcity, creating new food, health and nutrition needs.

Overall, 23 million people rely on humanitarian assistance – five times more than in 2019, and more than 15 million people now face high levels of food insecurity. Recent deadly floods in the central and northern regions have added to the suffering.

Brave female colleague

Ms. Wosornu said the restrictions were imposed by the Government reality The Taliban regime’s treatment of women Afghan aid workers has added complexity to humanitarian operations in Afghanistan. Relatedly, about 1.4 million women and adolescent girls are still banned from attending school.

“While providing humanitarian aid, Our brave Afghan female colleagues face many challenges and take personal risks every day come and go to work,” she said.

Meanwhile, humanitarian partners continue to negotiate with the Taliban government on this issue.

Let women work!

Ms. Wosornu also raised the crackdown during talks with various senior officials, including the Taliban’s economic and foreign ministers, during her four-day visit.

That’s a constant part of my message: Afghan women need to work, and that’s essential,” she speaks.

When asked about the education ban, she said reality The administration repeated the message that they needed time, to which she replied, “we don’t have time because the numbers speak for themselves.”

“I also said that very clearly The longer we wait, the more millions of children will be affected and the more society will be affected,” she speaks.

She also reported that some members of the “de facto government community… are turning a blind eye to some of the activities that we are undertaking.” In some provinces, UN humanitarian staff are allowed to move freely.

“So there is hope to keep pushing. And the message, as I said before, at every level is that you need to lift these restrictions because we need to do our job in the education sector and the health sector.”

Still participating

Ms. Wosornu reported that the Afghan people need three things from the international community: continued humanitarian assistance; sustainable solutions, including supporting livelihoods and agriculture, and finally being heard.

Note that one A $3.6 billion appeal for the country is only 16% funded.She called on the international community to continue its engagement in Afghanistan.

“This is not a hopeless crisis,” she said. “I am at least encouraged to see the Afghan people continue to fight and push for what they believe in. The world cannot abandon the people of Afghanistan at this time.”

Saving lives in Pakistan

Like Afghanistan, Pakistan was also affected by recent floods due to heavy rains. Ms. Worsonu has seen firsthand the impact on farming families in Peshawar, who have lost crops and their children cannot go to school.

She visited the Government’s emergency center in the capital Islamabad, “where they are trying their best to ensure that predictability is key, where they can prevent massive loss of life from early warning system,” adding that the authorities had requested assistance from the United Nations.

A building is destroyed in the Omdurman region of Sudan, where war since April 15 has caused widespread infrastructure destruction.

A building is destroyed in the Omdurman region of Sudan, where war since April 15 has caused widespread infrastructure destruction.

‘Fire at alarming level’ in Sudan

She also used the meeting to focus on the crisis in Sudan, which she called “five fire alarms were among the worst”.

About 18 million people are facing severe hunger after two years of war between the national army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Five million people are “one step away from starvation” and the risk of famine is real. Rampant human rights violations were committed.

The fighting has forced nine million people to flee to safety, whether elsewhere in Sudan or across borders into countries such as South Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia.

The United Nations has repeatedly promoted humanitarian access and the safe delivery of aid, whether across frontlines or borders.

Ms Wosornu was asked whether she was involved in any cross-border negotiations and whether progress could be made on this issue.

She said the United Nations met with the so-called civilian arm of the RSF in Nairobi and with the Government of Sudan in Port Sudan. She expressed hope that the negotiations would be successful, “but what I can tell you is Every day we delay our ability to reach people, we lose our lives.”


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