US$280 million aid for Afghanistan approved by donors – World Bank


Donors have approved the transfer of US$280 million from a frozen trust fund to the World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF to support nutrition and health in Afghanistan, the World Bank said on Friday.

The international financial institution have repeatedly warned that more than half the population in Afghanistan face “acute” food shortages this winter.

The fund from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) will go “to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan at this critical time,” the World Bank said in a statement.

The funds will go to UNICEF and the WFP, who “have presence and logistics capacity on the ground in Afghanistan and will use these funds to cover financing gaps in their existing programs to deliver health and nutrition services directly to the Afghan people.”

The bank’s management earlier this month offered the proposal to re-direct the funds intended for rebuilding efforts.

The United Nations has repeatedly warned that Afghanistan is on the brink of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Around 22 million Afghans, or more than half the country, will face an “acute” food shortage in the winter months, forcing millions to choose between migration and starvation.

That is due to the combined effects of drought caused by global warming, and an economic crisis aggravated by the international community’s decision to freeze funding to the aid-dependent nation after the Taliban takeover in August – a decision the UN described in a recent report as an “unprecedented fiscal shock”.

Washington froze about US$10 billion of the country’s reserves and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund halted Afghanistan’s access to funding.

Many people in the capital Kabul have resorted to selling household goods in order to feed themselves and buy coal to heat their homes in the winter.

UNICEF will receive US$100 million to provide essential health services, and WFP will receive US$180 million, the statement said. (Source: CNA)