The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said Monday it is sending $64 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to address the “compounding effects of insecurity, conflict, recurring natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The funding will come from USAID and the State Department, and will be distributed through the United Nations and independent aid groups, the agency said in a press release. The humanitarian aid will help provide vulnerable Afghans with “critically needed food, health care, nutrition, medical supplies, protection, hygiene supplies and other urgently needed relief.”
USAID also said it has created a Disaster Assistance Response Team to lead the U.S. government’s humanitarian response in Afghanistan and work with partners on the ground to provide assistance.
NEWS: The United States announces nearly $64 million in additional Humanitarian Assistance for Afghanistan https://t.co/xVMrEvvbk0
— USAID (@USAID) September 13, 2021
The announcement comes one day after the U.N. issued an emergency call for $600 million to prevent famine and a public health crisis in Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press. Around 14 million people, or 35% of the country’s population, were already facing starvation before the Taliban’s rapid takeover in August, according to the World Food Program. (RELATED: Father Reportedly Tries To Sell 4-Year-Old Daughter In Afghanistan After Taliban Takeover)
Afghanistan’s economy is now facing total collapse after the creation of a new Taliban government earlier in September led foreign donors and investors to pull billions from the country.
The U.S. is the largest humanitarian donor in Afghanistan and has committed nearly $330 million in assistance in the current fiscal year, according to the State Department. The latest aid package brings total U.S. assistance in Afghanistan to around $4 billion since 2002.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday urged Afghanistan’s neighbors to keep their borders open to refugees and promised to ensure the Taliban does not block humanitarian assistance, particularly to groups such as women and girls.
“The United States will also work with the international community to help ensure that the Taliban follow through on its commitments and advance unhindered humanitarian access, freedom of movement for aid workers of all genders, safety and security of humanitarian staff, and safe passage for all those who wish to leave Afghanistan,” he said in a statement.