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Afghanistan: Deadly hospital attack; UN ramps up aid delivery

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UN agencies including the World Food Programme continue to carry on providing humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.

A deadly attack on a military hospital in the Afghan capital, is a reminder that health facilities should never be a target, the UN’s Deputy Spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Farhan Haq was briefing journalists in New York, after two explosions detonated near the entrance of the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital in Kabul, leaving at least 19 dead and dozens more injured, according to news reports.

There was no claim of responsibility, but Taliban officials reportedly laid blame on an affiliate group of the ISIL terrorist network.

“We express condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and a swift recovery to the many people who were injured”, said Mr. Haq.

“This is a reminder that health facilities and infrastructure are not a target, and that all civilians must be protected.”

Aid deliveries

UN humanitarian aid deliveries are continuing, along with needs assessments to meet growing demand across the country.

The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that 170 trucks are delivering assistance across Afghanistan daily. This year, WFP has reached 11.5 million people with food assistance, including 4.7 million people in October alone, said the Deputy Spokeperson.

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In the last week of October, the International Organization for Migration, IOM, reached 8,400 vulnerable Afghans across the country with humanitarian assistance, and 2,330 undocumented Afghans who returned to Afghanistan, received emergency shelter.

UNHCR begins airlifts

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that it had begun airlifting aid into Kabul for the first time, with a plane carrying winter relief from the Agency’s global stockpiles in Dubai landed on Tuesday.

The UNHCR-chartered plane took off from Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, carrying 33 tons of winterization kits for displaced Afghans.

It’s the first of three UNHCR flights, with the next two scheduled to land in the Afghan capital on 4 and 7 November.

Spokesperson Shabia Mantoo, said needs were rising rapidly in Afghanistan ahead of winter, when temperatures can dip to -25⁰C.

Conflict and insecurity have displaced 3.5 million inside Afghanistan, including some 700,000 forced from their homes this year.

“We are using land, sea and air routes, to bring humanitarian relief into Afghanistan and other countries in the region, so we can respond to the increasing needs”, said Ms. Mantoo.

“Further relief supplies have also been prepositioned in Termez, Uzbekistan, ready to be trucked into Afghanistan as needed. As we continue to scale up our humanitarian response, more resources are urgently needed”, she added.

Afghanistan’s Flash Appeal, seeking $606 million to help 11 million people through the end of 2021, is currently only 50 per cent funded.

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