The White House said Wednesday that President Biden is working to respond to the devastating earthquake in eastern Afghanistan by determining how U.S. humanitarian aid can address the immediate needs.
At least 1,000 people are believed to have been killed and about 1,000 injured following the 5.9 magnitude earthquake in the country on Tuesday. Both tolls are expected to increase.
“President Biden has been monitoring developments and directed USID and other federal government partners to assess US response options to help those most affected,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.
“Our humanitarian partners are already delivering medical care and shelter supplies on the ground.
The US withdrew its military and diplomatic presence in Afghanistan in August 2021 in a chaotic and deadly operation, but provided $ 720 million in humanitarian aid between that time and March 2022.
The Taliban, the hardest-hit Islamists globally isolated after taking over the country amid the US withdrawal, have been blocked from accessing the money, which is being delivered to humanitarian groups and international organizations working on the ground.
The US fund includes emergency cash, shelter, trauma care and essential health services, water, sanitation and hygiene assistance, protection and gender-based violence services, multilateral assistance, assistance to refugee populations in neighboring countries and return to internally displaced people and Afghans. To reintegrate into the country, according to the State Department.
According to a United Nations report published in May, the devastation caused by the earthquake describes the United Nations as one of the worst humanitarian crises globally, where half the population, an estimated 20 million people, suffer from extreme hunger.
If the UN makes an entry in alleviating the food crisis, the chronic drought and economic crisis is threatening life in the country.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for solidarity to help Afghans and said their organization was “fully equipped.”
“Our teams are already assessing the ground needs and providing early support.