“Although we continue to engage with government ministries, donors, and organisations to find alternative sustainable support mechanisms for the hospital sector, the phase-out of the Hospital Program is expected to happen tentatively at the end of August,” Diogo Alcantara, ICRC’s spokesperson for Afghanistan, told Reuters on Thursday.
“The ICRC does not have the mandate nor the resources to maintain a fully functioning public healthcare sector in the longer term,” Alcantara said.
In April, ICRC said its governing board approved 430 million Swiss francs ($475.30 million) in cost reductions over 2023 and early 2024 and a rolling back of operations in some locations as budgets for humanitarian aid were expected to decrease.
There is growing alarm over cuts to aid to Afghanistan, where the U.N. humanitarian plan for 2023 is only 25% funded, even after the requested budget was downgraded from $4.6 billion to $3.2 billion.
Diplomats and aid officials say concerns over Taliban restrictions on women alongside competing global humanitarian crises are causing donors to pull back on financial support. The Taliban has ordered most Afghan female aid staff not to work, though granted exemptions in health and education.
Almost three-quarters of Afghanistan’s population is now in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the aid agencies.
Translated by: Sadaf YarmalFollow TKG on Twitter & Facebook