UN emergency relief coordinator launches humanitarian action plan for Afghanistan

Published on 03 February 2009

John Holmes, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, today launched the Humanitarian Action Plan to help vulnerable people in Afghanistan in 2009. Following the launch, he briefed journalists at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. He was accompanied by Nesar Popal, Advisor to the Presidency of Afghanistan, and Bo Asplund, Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. [...] Answering a question on whether the explosion of a bridge in the Khyber Pass would affect humanitarian routes and the expanded assistance plans, Mr. Holmes said insecurity was a huge problem, especially for the population, but for humanitarian organizations it was a problem in terms of access of delivery. There were large areas that were extremely difficult to access, in particular for international United Nations staff and NGOs, due to the security situation. NGOs in particular had suffered grievously from insecurity in 2008 - 28 NGO workers were killed, and 72 had been abducted. United Nations agencies had suffered less, but had nevertheless had workers killed, wounded and abducted. Operations within the country continued. The World Food Programme was still able to move food around the country, and had done an amazing job in pre-positioning food supplies before the winter made moving food difficult.

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