A top World Health Organisation official says the agency only has "a few days left of supplies" for Afghanistan and wants help to ferry in 10 or 12 planeloads of equipment and medicine for its beleaguered people.
Dr Rick Brennan heads the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Region that includes Afghanistan. He said from Cairo that the UN health agency is negotiating with the US and other countries to help efforts to replenish strained stockpiles.
"We estimate we've only got a few days left of supplies," Brennan said, alluding to a distribution centre in Dubai that has what is needed. "We have 500 metric tonnes ready to go, but we haven't got any way of getting them into the country right now."
The US and other authorities have encouraged the WHO and partners to look to other Afghan airports than Kabul's, which is facing a crush of thousands of people trying to get out of Afghanistan after a Taliban takeover, Rick said.
He said those authorities "have suggested that it'll be too difficult a logistics exercise and security exercise to bring supplies into Kabul," where teams would be required to unload planes and allow trucks to carry out the supplies – which could complicate the evacuations.
Needed supplies include emergency kits and essential medicines for the treatment of chronic diseases, like diabetes, the WHO said.
"We're cautiously optimistic that we might need to get something done in the coming days," Rick said, before adding: "We need a consistent humanitarian air bridge into the country ASAP."