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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Afghanistan - Syria

01 Oct 2021

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An aircraft carrying medical supplies arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan on 30 September 2021. © UNICEF/UN0528682/Fazel

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 1 October 2021

Afghanistan

OCHA reports that an aircraft carrying life-saving medical supplies for UNICEF arrived yesterday in Kabul through the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) airbridge. 

The shipment included 32 metric tons of essential drugs, oral rehydration salts and antibiotics, and medical and surgical supplies to cover the needs of 100,000 children and women for the next three months. 

This is the first of two consignments planned to be flown into Kabul via the ECHO airbridge in the coming days.  

Meanwhile, in September the World Food Programme (WFP) provided 3 million people with food assistance, double the number of people reached in August. This included 1.5 million women and girls, and 1.5 million men and boys.  

So far in 2021, 8.4 million people have received food assistance in all 34 provinces. WFP aims to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance to 14 million people by the end of the year.  

With winter approaching, humanitarian partners are working to get food and other non-food items prepositioned at strategic locations.  

On 13 September, donors and Member States pledged more than US$1.2 billion in humanitarian and development aid for Afghanistan. Since then, only $135 million has been received in support of the Afghanistan Flash Appeal seeking to help 11 million people before the end of year.  

The UN urges donors to fast-track the disbursement of funding to address the rapidly growing humanitarian needs that are set to worsen in winter. There is a risk of pipeline breaks in October and November in the provision of food, agriculture, health, nutrition, protection, education and water and sanitation hygiene assistance, due to funding shortfalls and import and transport delays. 
 

Syria

The UN remains concerned about the dire situation of civilians in the north-west, where hostilities, an economic crisis and COVID-19 have made the situation of already vulnerable people even more difficult. 

Hostilities continued to be reported across north-west Syria throughout September, with intensified air strikes along the front lines in southern Idleb and almost daily reports of violence. 

The UN is also extremely concerned about the spike in COVID-19 cases, with more than 1,000 people per day testing positive in north-west Syria. There has been a 170 per cent increase in the total number of positive cases in the last month alone (more than 71,715 cases).

Limited equipment to test for COVID-19 is a problem, on top of a severe oxygen shortage. In addition, less than 3 per cent of the population in the north-west is vaccinated. With 1.6 million people living in crowded camp settings, the spread of COVID-19 will further tax an overburdened system. 

In addition, 97 per cent of the population in north-west Syria live in extreme poverty, depending on humanitarian aid for food, medicine and other basic services.  

Through the cross-border mechanism, the UN is delivering aid to millions of people each month, including the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. A first crossline convoy delivered aid from Damascus to WFP warehouses in the north-west at the end of August. But more is needed.

However, funding gaps are limiting the delivery of humanitarian assistance, with around two thirds of the required $513 million need for life-saving support not received.

The UN continues to call on all parties to implement their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and calls on all Member States to continue and to increase their generous donations to people in need throughout Syria.