UN warns of starvation crisis in Afghanistan; one million children ‘could die’

Highlights

  • UNICEF warns of one million starvation cases by this year in Afghanistan.
  • The UN body’s chief fears that many will die of starvation.
  • 600,000 people, more than half of whom are children, have been displaced by conflict.

Over one million Afghan children face severe malnutrition this year and could die without proper treatment, UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore warned on Monday.

The country has been witnessing economic and political chaos since August 2021 after Taliban seized the power in the country in a lightning blitz.

“Nearly 10 million girls and boys depend on humanitarian assistance just to survive. At least 1 million children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year and could die without treatment,” Mr Fore said.

He also said that nearly 600,000 people, more than half of whom are children, have been displaced by conflict this year.

Fore pleaded the international community and first world nations to help avert further suffering in the war-torn nation after the US-backed government in the country collapsed overnight last month.

Asking rich nations for help, Fore also tried to highlight the UNICEF’s ability to operate in one of the poorest and most war-torn countries in the world.

“UNICEF has been on the ground in Afghanistan for more than 70 years. We know what needs to be done for children. And we can get it done,” she said

Many western countries – most of the NATO allies – have started seeing frozen aid money to Afghanistan as a key leverage point in negotiations with Taliban to establish a government that respects basic human rights.

Meanwhile, groups like UNICEF are being vetted twice from the governments seeking ways to deliver aid to Afghanistan’s neediest citizens without taking aid from Taliban.

On Monday, the United States announced an extra US$64 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. The aid will be delivered through international agencies like the World Health Organization and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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