This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Afghanistan: dire needs could worsen, basic services collapsing
Ongoing uncertainty about the situation in Afghanistan has left people in a dire position with basic services “collapsing”, UN humanitarians warned on Tuesday.
Ahead of a major fundraising conference for the country in Geneva on 13 September, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that one in three Afghans is acutely food insecure.
Echoing that message, the UN humanitarian coordination office, OCHA, warned that “basic services in Afghanistan are collapsing and food and other lifesaving aid is about to run out”.
Action to help ordinary Afghans must be taken now ahead of the “fast-approaching winter wheat season”, said FAO Director of the Office of Emergencies and Resilience, Rein Paulsen:
“Towards the end of September, we need to make sure that planting is starting. There is a very short window of time to be able to address that. The seeds can’t wait, the farmers can’t wait. We need to do everything we can to ensure that those vulnerable households are supported”.
According to FAO, Afghanistan faces a “25 per cent deficit on the national wheat crop this year”.
Conflict in Tigray now creating dire needs in neighbouring districts
To Ethiopia now, where conflict in the north has spilled beyond Tigray, raising fresh concern among humanitarians that far too little aid is reaching those who need it desperately.
In a fresh warning on Tuesday, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it has started to deliver emergency relief food assistance to Afar and Amhara regions that border Tigray.
The UN agency plans to reach 530,000 people in Afar and 250,000 in Amhara, but a total of 6.9 million people need help, said spokesperson Tomson Phiri:
“This is a crisis that needs 100 trucks per day; 100 trucks daily. All that we’ve been possible to do in the past three months is 335.”
Delivering more help is dependent on greater access and funding, the WFP spokesperson said, adding that $426 million is needed for 12 million people across Ethiopia for the rest of the year.
Critical gaps in refugee education: UNHCR
Two in three refugee children might never have a chance at secondary education, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) warned on Tuesday, before urging action to confront “critically low” levels of school and university enrolment among displaced youngsters.
Recent progress is under threat owing to the COVID-19 crisis, said UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi, who described the challenge as “a task we cannot afford to shirk”.
Citing education data from 40 countries, UNHCR said that only one in three refugee children enrolled in secondary school in the 2019-2020 academic year.
That’s less than half the primary school rate, and this crisis is caused by the “intense” pressures that refugee teenagers can face to drop out of school and support their families.
The coronavirus pandemic has made matters worse, UNHCR said, causing refugee
learners to lose an average of 142 days of lessons up to March this year, linked to classroom closures.
The good news is that higher education enrolment is now at five per cent, a two per cent increase, said the agency.
Katy Dartford, UN News.