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UAE sets up air bridge to deliver humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

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By Mark Armstrong with AFP
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UAE sets up air bridge to deliver humanitarian aid to Afghanistan
Copyright  Bernat Armangue/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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The United Arab Emirates has started operating an air bridge to deliver tons of aid to Afghanistan, a Kabul airport operations managersaid on Saturday.

The UAE is a close ally of the US and is among a number of Gulf states that have been key staging posts for evacuation flights from Afghanistan.

GAAC is the emirates company that has provided ground and security handling services at Kabul airport since November 2020.

"I can confirm that from 3rd of September, (...) the UAE government had activated an air bridge corridor to provide humanitarian aid for the government of Afghanistan," said GAAC's General Manager and Regional Director, Ibrahim Moarafi.

"From that date till now, we have received and handled 11 flights almost on daily basis, and we have handled 255 tons of medical aid and food items for the people of Afghanistan," Moarafi added.

More than two-thirds of the 120,000 Afghans and foreigners who fled Afghanistan landed in the UAE and Qatar before going on to their final destinations.

Among them was ousted president Ashraf Ghani who fled Kabul as the Taliban entered the city. Ghani is understood to still be residing in the UAE.

The United Nations is also pushing to raise over €513 million for Afghans in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

A donor conference in Geneva on Monday warned that 97% of people in the country could fall below the poverty line by the end of 2021.

A severe drought is also jeopardising the upcoming harvest, while food stocks provided by the World Food Program are predicted to run out by the end of September.

Chris Nyamandi, country director for Save the Children in Afghanistan, told Euronews that around 5.5 million young Afghans are at risk of hunger in the coming months.

"There is a huge need in Afghanistan, and we do not have access to those children in need," said Nyamandi.

"We are quite concerned that when we do get access, we will see even more severe humanitarian indicators."

Nyamandi added that Save The Children had received assurances from the Taliban that their staff would be safe in Afghanistan.