97 percent of Afghanistan’s population is feared to sink below the poverty line if the political and economic issues in the country are not addressed, the United Nations has warned.
In a report released on Thursday, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said that the poverty rate in the country is likely to increase by 25 percent owing to the contraction of Afghanistan’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). More than half of the country is already in need of humanitarian support.
Even before the Taliban’s takeover last month, the country was heavily aid-dependent, with more than a third of the country’s GDP derived from foreign funding. The UN is urging the Taliban to let aid workers continue doing their job.
“Let the civil body, local community organizations continue and manage the ongoing aid projects. Let them implement it. We are not asking for anything, just don’t cause obstructions in our way,” Afghanistan’s UNDP representative Abdallah Al Dadri said.
The international agencies warned the officials of an ‘impending humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, earlier this week. The medical charity, Doctors without Borders, warned that the country’s vulnerable healthcare system was on the verge of a ‘potential collapse.’
The United Nations has issued a warning that almost 18 million people in Afghanistan are on the brink of a humanitarian disaster and the crisis will be prolonged.
“There would be multiple crises: internal displacement, migration, people fleeing the country, and many more,” Al Dadri said. “I believe that the opium trade will flourish due to the lack of any other job, and Domestic violence will increase too. Our duty is to step in now.”
The United Nations has appealed for an extra $200 million in aid support after the Taliban’s seizure of power resulted in the exodus of aid workers and subsequent funding cuts.
According to the UN’s report, a combination of factors which include a prolonged drought, Covid-19 pandemic, and upheaval caused by the political transition, could cause the country’s poverty baseline, currently at 72 percent, to balloon.