The UN refugee agency UNHCR, noted on October 12 that the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is worsening and funding for emergency aid is urgently needed to help 20 million people there.

A month since the UN-led $606 million appeal for solidarity for the people of Afghanistan, the UN refugee agency said that only 35 percent of the funds it needed to fund operations for the next two months had been received, according to the UN News Center.

The development follows a call from UN Secretary-General António Guterres on October 11 to the international community to inject cash into Afghanistan’s crumbling economy to prevent its collapse, for which “not only they but all the world will pay a heavy price”.

Speaking from Kabul, UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch reportedly said that the agency was trying to establish a logistics hub just outside Afghanistan’s border to distribute aid to the country’s many hundreds of thousands of internally displaced.

Mr. Baloch explained that Afghanistan’s economy was at “a breaking point”, and that this collapse had to be avoided at all costs, particularly as temperatures were now plunging at night with the approach of winter.

The UNHCR spokesperson said that the agency planned to conduct three airlifts to scale up supplies to Afghanistan in the coming period.

Consignments are expected to be airlifted to the Uzbek city of Termez, and subsequently trucked through the Hairatan border point into Mazar-e Sharif.  “The airlifts will deliver urgently needed humanitarian relief items. The first flight is expected to arrive mid-October,” UNHCR spokesman said.

At the beginning of 2021, 18 million people in Afghanistan needed humanitarian assistance, half of the country’s population.