UN agencies call for ‘humanitarian airbridge’

BERLIN – The World Health Organization and UNICEF are calling for a “humanitarian airbridge” to be set up immediately to allow the unhindered delivery of medicines and other aid supplies to Afghanistan.

The two U.N. agencies said in a statement Sunday that they are “committed to stay and deliver for the people of Afghanistan.”

But they added that “with no commercial aircraft currently permitted to land in Kabul, we have no way to get supplies into the country and to those in need.”

They noted that other humanitarian agencies face similar problems.

The agencies said that, even before the Taliban’s recent takeover of Afghanistan, the country required the world’s third-largest humanitarian operation, with more than 18 million people needing help.

They said that while the main focus in recent days has been the evacuation of foreigners and vulnerable Afghans, “the massive humanitarian needs facing the majority of the population should not — and cannot — be neglected.”