August 25, 2021 — David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said:
"The G7 Emergency Summit declaration set aspirations; now there needs to be action to address the country’s growing humanitarian crises. There is understandable focus on the situation in and around Kabul airport; IRC is also focused on the conditions in the rest of the country.
18.4 million Afghans are already critically dependent on aid, including 10 million children. The World Food Programme has warned that core food supplies could run out by October, as acute hunger is rising across the country. The number of people made homeless by the conflict has jumped by 53% from 360,000 to 550,000 in August alone. Attacks on aid workers and civilians have already been a hallmark of this crisis. This cannot continue.
The current pledges from the G7 yesterday falls far short of addressing the scale of need in the country. As it stands the UN’s humanitarian response remains only 38% funded. Military withdrawal must not be followed by a humanitarian or diplomatic one.
Both the UK, this year's G7 president, and the EU, have increased their aid budget in a meaningful way, and that must now be matched by other countries and by details of how this funding will reach front line workers and their clients. G7 members should be committing to direct and flexible aid funding to frontline NGOs providing life saving support on the ground.
G7 should also use their diplomatic weight to seek protection for Afghan civil society and for humanitarian workers to continue to reach those who need support, including female staff who should be supported to return to their humanitarian roles safely.