IRC, Sister Agencies Ask UN's Help to Continue Aid in Afghanistan
Four IRC staff members who died in an ambush in Logar Province in August were among the 28 aid workers killed in Afghanistan so far this year.
(Kabul 25 September 2008) Twenty-eight aid workers have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year: twice as many as in 2007. Aid agencies are now directly targeted by armed opposition groups in Afghanistan and access to communities in need is constantly shrinking. In a letter to the UN Special Representative in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, CARE, IRC and 25 other organizations officially ask the UN for support to continue working under the worsening security conditions in the country.
"During the last few months we have seen a clear rise in attacks on organizations and the security situation is seriously limiting our ability to assist the people in need. We are now asking the UN for support so that we can fulfill our mandates", says country director for CARE International in Afghanistan, Lex Kassenberg.
Agencies have been forced to suspend and modify programs, due to the unstable security situation. Road trips are becoming almost impossible and flying is the only viable way to reach certain communities. "However, civilian flights and helicopters for humanitarian response are extremely few", says Ciaran Donnelly, country director for International Rescue Committee in Afghanistan. "Thus we ask the UN and donors to do everything they can to boost the air capacity within the civilian humanitarian community" he says.
With the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, where the effects of conflict is aggravated by rising food prices and drought, a well coordinated humanitarian response is needed. However, the coordination capacity of the UN is still limited to a handful of people and recruitment to fill the vacancies in the understaffed humanitarian affairs unit is likely to take another six to nine months. "We ask the UN to do everything in its power to get people on the ground in Afghanistan as soon as possible. The people of Afghanistan do not have six more months to wait", concludes the CARE country director.
In the letter, the 27 organizations ask the UN and donors to:
- Clearly recognize that more and more parts of Afghanistan are in a combined complex emergency and conflict phase with high numbers of casualties and increasingly limited access to people in need.
- Actively support the allocation of increased independent and flexible humanitarian funding.
- Increase coordination capacity within the UN in Afghanistan