Austrian government approves €18 million emergency aid package for Afghanistan
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), due to decades of conflict in the country, nearly half of the Afghan population – more than 18 million people – are dependent on humanitarian aid. Nearly three million Afghans have been displaced within their own country, and another 2.5 million Afghans have fled to other countries. The takeover by the radical Islamist Taliban has further amplified these developments, and it is having a destabilising effect on the entire region. The Austrian government will therefore use its 18 million euro emergency aid package to provide targeted support where it is most effective: on site in the crisis region.
In order to combat the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the region, the Austrian government resolved in today’s Ministerial Council to make 18 million euros available immediately, without red tape, from the Foreign Ministry’s International Disaster Fund. Of this, ten million euros will go to the UNHCR, five million to UN Women, and 3 million to the UN World Food Programme.
The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was already very difficult before the Taliban takeover, and now it has significantly worsened. We have the ability and desire to help with this difficult situation. But of course we also want to use our funds as effectively as possible. We want to provide help to the region and prevent further refugee movements to Europe,
said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler added:
The dramatic situation in Afghanistan after the takeover by the Taliban, who are known enemies of the Western way of life – freedom, human rights, and democracy – has spurred the Austrian government to once again increase its humanitarian aid, marking the largest contribution since the creation of the International Disaster Fund. The situation of women and girls and of refugees, as well as the food situation for one-third of the population, is alarming. This is why international humanitarian aid is so urgently needed. It is our responsibility to help.
The situation in Afghanistan is shocking. Watching 20 years of international involvement seemingly vanish into thin air overnight is extremely unsettling. However, we cannot make the mistake of pointing fingers and assigning blame now. We must help the people of Afghanistan quickly in order to prevent further destabilisation in the region,
said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
In addition to providing support and care for displaced persons in the region, the Austrian Government’s focus is on supporting women and girls. Their situation has grown much worse due to the recent events.
It is especially important for organisations like UN Women and UNHCR to benefit from financial resources, since they provide fast, effective aid on the ground to women and girls in Afghanistan. Those are the people who particularly suffer under the Taliban’s misogynistic, violent Islamist reign of terror. That is why we want to provide financial resources to UN Women in order to help women and girls in the region,
said Minister for Women’s Affairs Susanne Raab.
In the last four years, Austria has provided more than 11 million euros for humanitarian aid and development projects in Afghanistan as well as for Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs
Tel: +43 (0) 50 11 50 - 3320
Fax: +43 (0) 50 11 50 - 213