The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is “extremely concerned” over the “evolving security and humanitarian situation” in Afghanistan and called for health workers to be “respected and supported.”
“@WHOEMRO [World Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean Office] is extremely concerned over the evolving security and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan,” the agency tweeted Monday. “Our sincere condolences go to the families of innocent civilians who have lost their lives.”
The agency noted the “situation is deteriorating rapidly.”
“We call on all parties to the conflict to abide by international humanitarian law and human rights law,” another tweet said. “The gains of the past twenty years cannot be turned back. During this challenging period, the delivery of essential health services must be maintained and health workers respected and supported.”
On Tuesday, a spokesperson told Reuters that WHO is also concerned about the spread of coronavirus in the region, and how the Taliban rise in power is thwarting efforts to send medical supplies and support to the region.
Earlier this summer the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a health alert warning that hospitals were facing shortages of oxygen, beds and other supplies for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
WHO reports that as of Aug. 11, over 1.8 million vaccine doses had been administered in Afghanistan. In July, the country was seeing a sharp rise in new cases, even without widespread testing indicating the true total number of illnesses is likely higher than the 152,300 reported.