Afghanistan, Save the Children: Nearly 10 Million Children Suffer From Hunger (10/05/2022)

In Afghanistan, 9.6 million children are starving every day due to a terrible combination of the economic crisis, the impact of the war in Ukraine and drought. This is according to data published by Save the Children, the international organization that has been fighting for over 100 years to save girls and boys in danger and to secure them a future.

Immediate food aid is needed to save lives in the short term. However, aid alone is not enough to tackle the country’s worst food crisis. The figures show that despite a significant amount of food delivered to families in recent months, 19.7 million children and adults – almost 50% of the population – still suffer from hunger and need urgent support to survive. From March to May alone, 20,000 people faced famine.

When the Taliban took control in August last year, the international community largely froze assets and suspended development aid to reduce the risk of indirectly raising funds for the de facto Taliban administration.

Afghan children therefore bear the burden of the policies of the international community, which have stolen money from the country and created a negative spiral for the economy. Poverty, unemployment and food prices have risen dramatically, forcing parents to make desperate decisions to feed their children.

“Every single day, our frontline health professionals look after children who are wasted before our eyes because they only eat bread once a day. And they are the lucky ones. Children in Afghanistan have never known a conflict-free life. If action is taken there “not taken soon, they will never have the chance to live a single day without an empty stomach and go hungry. It is not time to turn their backs on the children of Afghanistan,” he said. Athena Rayburn, Save the Children Director of Advocacy, Communications and Media in Afghanistan.

“Although 18.9 million children and adults are expected to need food aid from June to November this year, there are only enough funds to support 3.2 million people. With the world’s attention focused on Ukraine, the hope of resolving this crisis in time is waning. For every day that passes without the necessary funds, more and more children lose their lives for preventable reasons. The international community must take responsibility for both the lack of funds and the economic collapse in Afghanistan by identifying ways to increase liquidity in the country’s economy. Until the economic crisis is resolved and growing poverty subdued, children will continue to face terrible levels of hunger. Help alone can not save their lives. “

Maryam *, 26, has five children and lives in Afghanistan’s Faryab province. In that province, many families are only able to eat one meal a day, and the public hospitals are full of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Maryam’s husband is in Iran trying to find work so he can send money to his family and help her survive.

“I’m worried about my kids. I can only borrow money and buy food for them, but it’s not enough for them. Some days we have food, some days we do not,” she told Save the Children.

Maryam recently borrowed a large sum of money to take her child Khal Mirza *, who suffers from severe acute malnutrition, to the hospital. When he was discharged from the hospital, Maryam took him to one of Save the Children’s mobile health clinics that provide services in his community.

Thanks to the care of Save the Children’s doctors, Khal Mirza is fortunately recovering. However, many severely malnourished children are not so lucky. Afghanistan’s health system is very poor in resources and staff, and many children do not have access to the care they need to survive. More than 50% of the families surveyed by Save the Children do not have access to health care because they do not have the money to pay for services.

The crisis in Afghanistan comes at a time when the world is facing the biggest famine crisis of this century with about 44 million children and adults on the brink of starvation worldwide.

Credit photo Charlotte Rose / Save the Children

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