21 February 2022
According to UN estimates, 24 million Afghans are at risk of acute food insecurity and will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022. A million children could die of starvation if aid does not reach them in time. This situation is the result of many years of conflict, climate change, drought and economic collapse. The health system is overburdened, and woman and girls in particular lack access to critical health services.
‘The civilian population of Afghanistan is in need of assistance during these difficult winter months. Norwegian humanitarian partners are providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people in the form of protection, food, and medical help. The extra allocation will be used among other things to strengthen protection for children and to scale up health services,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.
The extra allocation of NOK 86 million in humanitarian support will be channelled through the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Norwegian Red Cross, Norwegian Church Aid, Save the Children Norway and NORCAP.
‘Norway is increasing its support in response to the grave humanitarian situation and information received from our partners about the level of need. Norwegian support to the Afghan civilian population is provided exclusively through multilateral organisations and NGOs. We must prevent a collapse in basic services such as health and education. We must support the livelihoods of families and communities. This could reduce the number of people needing humanitarian assistance. That is why Norway also continues to provide development assistance in key sectors such as health and education,’ Ms Huitfeldt said.
The serious humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was at the top of the agenda during the talks held with the Taliban in Oslo in January. Humanitarian principles and priorities were a key topic. Norway has made it clear that the humanitarian organisations must be granted safe, unimpeded access, and allowed to work independently, in line with the humanitarian principles, including choosing their own employees.
- Development cooperation with the Afghan authorities was discontinued when the Taliban took power in August 2021. Norwegian support to the Afghan civilian population is provided exclusively through multilateral organisations and NGOs.
- The extra allocation of NOK 86 million comes in addition to the NOK 100 million provided by Norway in January to support the UN’s response plans for Afghanistan and the region.
- So far, Norway has provided NOK 186 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and to support neighbouring countries receiving Afghan refugees.
- In addition to the humanitarian support, Norway will continue to provide development assistance to the Afghan people through the UN, the World Bank, and NGOs.