- Title: U.N. says Afghanistan on brink of humanitarian 'catastrophe'
- Date: 13th August 2021
- Summary: CHAMAN, PAKISTAN (AUGUST 12, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PAKISTANI POLICEMEN GUARDING CHAMAN CROSSING, HUNDREDS OF AFGHANS WANTING TO CROSS INTO AFGHANISTAN STANDING BEHIND BARBED WIRE FENCE AFGHANS BEHIND CLOSED GATE PEOPLE STANDING BEHIND CLOSED GATE NEXT TO SIGN READING (Urdu): "AFGHANISTAN" (ARROW POINTING AHEAD)
- Embargoed: 27th August 2021 11:57
- Keywords: Afghanistan Taliban United Nations crisis humanitarian
- Location: SAID TO BE FARAH AND HAJI CAMP, KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN / GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / CHAMAN, PAKISTAN
- City: SAID TO BE FARAH AND HAJI CAMP, KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN / GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / CHAMAN, PAKISTAN
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA009EQ45Y6F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: U.N. agencies on Friday (August 13) warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan as Taliban insurgent advances heightened the country's crisis, driving thousands of people from their homes and spreading hunger.
Insurgents have wrested control of the second and third-biggest cities as Western embassies prepared to send in troops to help evacuate staff, although the United Nations said its 320 staff members would remain.
"We fear the worst is yet to come and the larger tide of hunger is fast approaching... The situation has all the hallmarks of a humanitarian catastrophe," World Food Programme's Thomson Phiri told a U.N. briefing.
More than 250,000 people have been forced from their homes since May, of which 80 percent are women and children, the U.N. refugee agency's Shabia Mantoo said. Many reported extortions by armed groups on the way and having to dodge improvised explosive devices along major roads.
Thousands of people are rushing from rural areas to the capital Kabul and other urban centers in search of shelter, another U.N. official said.
"One in three Afghans are acutely food insecure today. This is equivalent to about 14 million people who are in IPC (Integrated Phase Classification) phase 3 OOS. This means people have lost the means by which they earn their keep," Phiri said.
Mantoo called on Afghanistan's neighbours to keep borders open as Taliban insurgent advances heightened the country's crisis.
"An inability to seek safety may risk innumerable civilian lives. UNHCR stands ready to help national authorities scale up humanitarian responses as needed," she said.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani)
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