- The WHO and UNICEF said they are unable to get humanitarian aid into Afghanistan.
- The ongoing crisis in Kabul and at its airport has forced a bar on commercial flights.
- With dwindling supplies, both agencies called for an immediate and sustainable airbridge.
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The World Health Organisation and UNICEF are unable to get humanitarian aid into Kabul because the airport is closed to commercial flights, the agencies said in a joint statement on Sunday.
"WHO and UNICEF call for the immediate establishment of a humanitarian airbridge for the sustained and unimpeded delivery of aid into Afghanistan," said WHO Regional Director for Eastern and Mediterranean Region, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, and UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, George Laryea-Adjei in the joint statement.
The statement said that the two organizations are working with the United Nations and other international partners to try and expedite aid shipments into Afghanistan, and said that other humanitarian aid agencies are similarly constrained with access to the country's capital city.
Both organizations said they are committed to stay and deliver necessary aid for Afghans, which includes medicine and other supplies.
"While the main focus over the past days has been major air operations for the evacuation of internationals and vulnerable Afghans, the massive humanitarian needs facing the majority of the population should not - and cannot - be neglected," the statement said. "Even prior to the events of the past weeks, Afghanistan represented the world's third-largest humanitarian operation, with over 18 million people requiring assistance."
Since the Taliban seized control in Afghanistan over a week ago, the WHO has been distributing supplies to hospitals from its stockpiles in Afghanistan. As the supply shrinks, the WHO now estimates it can only meet demands for another week and a half, the statement said.
The WHO currently has supplies ready to be sent to Afghanistan from its logistics hub in Dubai, including medicine, malnutrition treatment, and disease treatment, the statement said.
According to the statement, UNICEF has been distributing hygiene kits and vaccinations for babies and young children. Newly constructed camps inside Afghanistan for displaced people have featured child-friendly spaces, vaccination sites, and nutrition hubs.
Scenes of chaos, violence and desperation have plagued the Kabul airport since the Taliban takeover, as many Afghans and foreigners attempt to flee the country in fear of the militant group's new rule.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.