Currently visiting Afghanistan, Egeland said in a statement: “Afghanistan’s economy is spiralling out of control. The formal banking system could collapse any day now because of a lack of cash.”
The diplomat spoke to families who told him they were surviving on tea and small scraps of old bread.
Egeland believed in case of a possible economic collapse, the most basic services would no longer function, and humanitarian needs would further increase.
Dealing with the liquidity crisis was critical as aid organisations sought to scale up to meet urgent humanitarian needs, he added.
“We are in a race against the clock to save lives before the harsh winter arrives and temperatures drop to as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius”
Many displaced people urgently needed shelter, warm clothes and food in the coming weeks¸ the NRC official continued.
“Our own staff tell me they are struggling to withdraw cash to buy food or access their savings from banks … We have been unable to pay staff their full salaries because it has been impossible to securely get money into the country.”
He went on to ask UN member states to urgently broker a multilateral agreement to stabilise the economy, fund appropriate public services and address the liquidity crisis.
This means exploring new and existing mechanisms, whether by channelling international funding through UN trust funds or through humanitarian organisations as an interim measure
“Otherwise, their promises to continue supporting the Afghan people will be empty. Donors must focus on providing fast and efficient solutions to delivering urgent aid for children, women and men that simply cannot wait any longer.”
Some 664,000 people have been displaced by the latest violence since January, bringing the total number of Ps to more than 3.5 million.
Egeland, who arrived in Kabul on September 26, will depart on September 28. He is due to meet displaced families and the authorities to discuss humanitarian needs and access.