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Afghanistan: $1.18 billion still needed for recovery aid in 2002, UN says

Afghanistan: $1.18 billion still needed for recovery aid in 2002, UN says

To meet Afghanistan's immediate needs during a crucial transitional period, the United Nations today said that $1.18 billion was still required for the humanitarian and recovery assistance to the country in 2002.

Held at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, the launch of the Immediate and Transitional Assistance Programme for the Afghan People 2002 (ITAP) was chaired by Dr. Sima Simar, Minister for Women’s Affairs and Vice Chair of the Interim Authority.

According to the UN, funding is needed to provide services ranging from food, health care and shelter to human rights promotion, mine clearance and governance to more than nine million Afghans in Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries this year. The appeal also includes recovery activities spelled out in the preliminary needs assessment presented last month in Tokyo at a donors conference.

“Now that the world’s attention has turned to Afghanistan once again, we must seize the opportunity to turn hopes into reality,” the Special Representative of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Lakhdar Brahimi, told the launch ceremony. “We must help the people of Afghanistan – women and men, girls and boys – to effect real change in their lives; to return home, to clear the minefields, to rebuild their communities, to develop their economy, to earn a living, to gain access to good quality health care, to have access to good quality learning opportunities.”

He also stressed the responsibility of the international community in assuring security through helping maintain and equip a national army and police force as well as by maintaining and extending the mission of UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

For his part, Kenzo Oshima, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, stressed the importance of meeting Afghanistan’s immediate needs while assisting in its long-term stability. “Let us not forget that Afghanistan continues to be plagued by a humanitarian crisis of major proportions,” he said. “Even if the drought ends this year in at least some parts of Afghanistan – as we all pray it will – millions of people will need food aid to survive until mid-2003.”

“We cannot neglect these life-saving efforts while our focus shifts to recovery and reconstruction,” he cautioned. “We will have to manage to transition from relief to recovery and long-term development in a way that will not allow anyone to fall into the perilous gap between relief and recovery.”