Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman at the UN/OCHA Joint Launch Event for the 2022 Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan and the Afghanistan Regional Response Plan

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR COLEMAN: Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, representatives, partners, and friends.

I’d like to thank Undersecretary Martin Griffiths and High Commissioner Filippo Grandi for their focused leadership to rally the world in response to the deepening crisis facing the Afghan people.

I also want to thank Charlotte Schneider and Dr. Saleema Rehman for their stories and perspectives today, underscoring the urgency of this crisis.

“Delivering babies and saving mothers,” that’s how Dr. Rehman is supporting her people, many of whom have fled the country to escape the Taliban.

Giving people a chance at life. Administering care to those without access to basic services. Giving girls a reason to aspire. That’s why we’re here today.

But the progress Afghanistan has made over the last two decades is at grave risk.

More than half of the Afghan population is in need of humanitarian assistance—a drastic 30 percent increase from just last year, with hundreds of thousands of Afghans forced to flee their homes.

Afghanistan’s worst drought in three decades has put lives and livelihoods at risk across much of the country.

And as we’ve heard, the number of people facing food insecurity is projected to increase by more than a third compared with the last lean season.

Within six months, absent additional funding, a shrinking economy could leave nearly 97 percent of the country mired in poverty—a country, and a people, in near-universal poverty.

The United States has made clear: We will continue to support the Afghan people—through diplomacy, by convening partners to act, and through humanitarian aid of the kind that we’re here to discuss today.

We are grateful for the partnership and the work of those who have developed the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan. If fulfilled, this plan would support over 22 million Afghan people, meeting their most basic and urgent human needs. It will ensure accountability to affected populations and help prevent the sexual abuse and exploitation of women and girls.

In response to the plan’s request for $4.4 billion—and as a symbol of the United States’ commitment to the people of Afghanistan—I am pleased to announce our initial contribution of more than $308 million in humanitarian assistance to help Afghans affected by this crisis.

This new funding from USAID will support food and nutrition assistance; emergency health care; shelter and supplies to protect people from harsh winter conditions; and humanitarian logistics for aid workers and critical relief supplies to make it into hard to reach areas.

But we must commit to more today than just dollars. We must, as the Humanitarian Response Plan indicates, work with international partners to fund and develop complementary efforts that bolster support for basic services and prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

Progress in Afghanistan cannot be salvaged, let alone built upon, if we don’t all scale up our efforts and demonstrate a renewed commitment to the Afghan people.

The United States is proud of its long tradition of being the world’s largest donor of humanitarian assistance. And we are grateful to have allies and partners dedicated to supporting this effort and giving the Afghan people a chance at a brighter future.

We at USAID look forward to the UN’s continued leadership to facilitate robust coordination in implementing this response plan, and I thank you, Undersecretary Griffiths, for the opportunity to join you today.

Last updated: January 11, 2022

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