Russia Gives $1 Million for Humanitarian Efforts in Afghanistan

VANCOUVER, CANADA — The World Food Programme WFP) says that Russia has provided financial assistance totalling one million dollars for humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan.          

This aid has been channelled through the Russian Ministry for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM).

With this funding, WFP says it plans to purchase 1,000 metric tons of food, which will support approximately 21,000 Afghan families, totalling nearly 150,000 individuals.

According to WFP, this aid is crucial for preserving lives in Afghanistan, where an unprecedented humanitarian crisis has left 16 million people, one-third of the population, hungry.

Dmitriy A. Zhirnov, the Russian ambassador in Afghanistan, emphasized the urgency of humanitarian assistance in addressing the pressing needs of the Afghan people.

He said that the world must act with urgency to address the expanding humanitarian crisis in the country and acknowledge the burden of the country’s ‘post-conflict reconstruction’ for the sake of sustainable development.

“With a large part of the Afghan people in dire need, humanitarian assistance is critical for preserving lives. The unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan necessitates an urgent response. The international community, including major donors, should recognize the imperative for post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan.”

Russian diplomats had previously also said the Western countries who led a military coalition in Afghanistan for two decades must bear the costs of the country’s reconstruction.

Hsiao-Wei Lee, Country Director of WFP in Afghanistan, expressed gratitude for the support from donors, which he says has helped avert a large-scale humanitarian crisis in the country.

However, Lee cautioned that the situation remains fragile, with many families still struggling to provide for their children due to limited income opportunities.

“WFP needs to continue humanitarian food assistance across Afghanistan and in parallel we need to be able to make investments into the productivity and resilience of communities, so that they can break the cycle of dependency.”

According to Ms. Lee, last year, WFP was forced to reduce assistance to millions of hungry people in Afghanistan due to a funding crisis, resulting in devastating consequences for vulnerable families.

Admissions of severely malnourished children to clinics and health centres doubled in some districts where assistance was cut.

WFP’s emergency program in Afghanistan aims to provide immediate relief while also investing in the productivity and resilience of communities to break the cycle of dependency.

Russia’s recent contribution add support to WFP’s efforts in Afghanistan as international contributions to the UN’s appeal rapidly decline. This brings Russia’s total contribution to four million dollars over three years.           

Although regional stakeholders such as Russia and China enjoy more cordial relationships with the unrecognized regime in Kabul, it is still western states such as the US and Germany who are the largest contributors to the humanitarian budget in Afghanistan.

Despite several billion dollars spent since the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021, Afghanistan’s economic and humanitarian crisis only continues to deepen.