News / Asia

UN Aid Chief on Afghan, Pakistani Needs

FILE - An Afghan refugee girl outside her home in slums of Islamabad, Pakistan.
FILE - An Afghan refugee girl outside her home in slums of Islamabad, Pakistan.
Ayaz Gul
— A top U.N. humanitarian envoy says that there are ongoing needs both in Afghanistan and Pakistan that call for the continued attention and assistance from the international community. U.N. Deputy Humanitarian Chief Kyung-wha Kang has wrapped up visits to vulnerable communities in both Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent days and says she is trying to focus global attention on the situation. She discussed with VOA the recent earthquake in Afghanistan, the security of U.N. workers in the country after the withdrawal of foreign troops, and how Pakistani military operations in the country’s tribal areas are affecting vulnerable communities.
 
Q: You visited Afghanistan few days after the landslide incident occurred and I understand you also had an aerial view of the disaster zone. Can you please share your experience and the discussions you had with Afghan officials?
 
A: The landslide in Argo in the Badakhshan province was a terrible tragedy and [caused the] loss of hundreds of lives. But it is not a single event, it is part of this flood that has affected the northern provinces. I think the displaced from the floods, the latest figures I… saw, is about 90,000. So it is part of a larger picture of natural disaster that every year visits the northern provinces. So, yes, there has to be emergency response to the affected people and I think between the local authorities and the international partners that response has been quite active. I understand there has been some confusion and complications but the initial response was immediate and displaced people immediately helped. But the longer term response has to be to see the single larger picture of the floods that affect so many in that region.
 
Q: Is the humanitarian community worried about its operations in the wake of international troop drawdown this year?
 
A: You know, many are talking about the future of the country after the political transition with a new president to be inaugurated later this year, with the withdrawal of the international forces. But, however you look at it, the UN presence will continue to be needed, the UN development and humanitarian presence in particular will continue to be needed and we are committed to staying further beyond 2015 for the longer term.
 
Q: How would you describe the humanitarian crisis facing Afghanistan after visiting that country?
 
A: It is a complex situation that combines both natural disasters and conflict related emergencies and it is a protracted situation. We expect the situation to either to remain the same or further deteriorate. We are not being alarmist by any measure but we are realistically preparing for these emergencies to continue.
 
Q: Attacks on foreigners have increased in Afghanistan lately. How worrying the situation is for UN Staff?
 
A: The insecurity is of course of a deep concern; we have staff in the country, we have staff in the field. So the security consideration is very much on our minds. We would like to provide a safe environment, the security set up that enables our colleagues to work and that is a very careful judgment and decision. But we are there. The security consideration is, how do we stay and deliver, not when do we leave. And our security colleagues are in close consultation with ourselves, the humanitarian to make that happen on a daily basis.
 
Q: You just concluded talks here in Islamabad with Pakistani officials and we often hear them complaining about a lack of funding to deal with the Afghan refugee population in the country. Did it come under discussions?
 
A: I think the international community is very grateful for the generosity of the Pakistani people and government and having hosted the enormous numbers of Afghan refugees over the years. There are still 1.6 million registered and over one, some say even two million, unregistered. And you (Pakistan) just renewed the agreement to let them continue to keep that status. So, that alone deserves a huge amount of gratitude. The funding aspect is a challenge.
 
Q: There are more than a million Pakistanis displaced by the anti-insurgency operations in northwest of the country and you also visited a camp for displaced people near Peshawar. But there are lately talks of a military operation in North Waziristan which is expected to cause more displacements?
 
A: We talk to the official constantly both at the national level and the provincial level. The government has provided very vital in kind assistance in terms of the food assistance. For example, just very recently 26,000 metric tons of food to support the WFP activities in support of the displaced people and we certainly hope that that will continue. That is not enough and therefore the international players or donors are here to make for that gap. We have heard of this campaign and we are of course concerned and preparing for the likely trigger of further displacement that that will cause and trying to make contingency plans for that.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid