DECEMBER 9, 2022
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UNDP Director Highlights Dire Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan

UNDP Director Highlights Dire Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan

Kanni Wignaraja, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, shared concerning insights about the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan during a recent visit to the country. Speaking to reporters in New York, she revealed that 69 percent of Afghans are "subsistence insecure," lacking access to basic resources.

Wignaraja emphasized the devastating impact of ongoing natural disasters, exacerbating the already dire situation in Afghanistan. Many regions are experiencing severe water scarcity, hindering development efforts.

Since the Taliban takeover in 2021, the Afghan economy has contracted by 27 percent, leading to widespread economic stagnation and doubling of unemployment. Access to electricity is limited to only 40 percent of the population, with major economic sectors, such as finance, collapsing.

Wignaraja also expressed grave concerns about the plight of women and girls under Taliban rule. Severe restrictions on women's dress code and employment have been imposed, hindering their participation in public life and education.

The continued ban on girls' education presents a significant obstacle to the country's future development, with no girls graduating from twelfth grade last year. The lack of access to education beyond the sixth grade impedes progress in technical and higher education fields.

Local economies are grappling with challenges, including a lack of capital in the private sector. UNDP is supporting microfinance initiatives, but results are limited due to the absence of cash flow. Wignaraja expressed hope that recent funding for climate projects from the World Bank could stimulate further investments in the country's recovery.

During her visit to Herat province, Wignaraja witnessed the aftermath of last October's earthquakes. She highlighted the stark contrast between villages still living in tents without water access and those beginning to rebuild permanent structures. Urgent action is needed to support household and local economies, allowing communities to recover and rebuild their lives.

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