WASHINGTON: The World Bank announced on Friday that international donors had agreed to provide USD280 million in aid to Afghanistan, following repeated warnings that more than half of the country's population could experience "acute" food shortages this winter. According to the World Bank, the money from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) will be used "to offer humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan at this critical time."
UNICEF and the World Food Programme will get the funding, which will be used to "fill financing gaps in their existing programmes to offer health and nutrition services directly to the Afghan people." The bank's management proposed re-directing funds allocated for reconstruction efforts earlier this month.
Afghanistan is on the verge of becoming the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations. During the winter months, around 22 million Afghans, or more than half of the country, will experience a "acute" food crisis, forcing millions to choose between migration and famine.
This is due to the combined effects of global warming-induced drought and an economic crisis exacerbated by the international community's decision to freeze aid to the aid-dependent country following the Taliban takeover in August - a decision the UN described as a "unprecedented fiscal shock" in a recent report.