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Avellon Williams

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Recent photographs show the struggle for survival at an overcrowded hospital in the southern province of Kandahar, as desperately malnourished babies and children lie side by side as doctors race to treat with them. 

For weeks, humanitarian organizations have been warning of a looming disaster as the Taliban struggles to feed the desperately poor and aid-dependent population. 

Starving Children /courtesy/

Millions of Afghans face the risk of starvation and a “catastrophe on top of a catastrophe” the head of the United Nations’ World Food Programme has warned, saying the agency needs $200m by the end of the year to continue its operations in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover. 

The food crisis, exacerbated by climate change was dire in Afghanistan even before the takeover by the Taliban, whose new administration has been blocked from accessing assets held overseas as nations grapple with how to deal with the group.

Awaiting food rations /courtesy/

Many Afghans are selling possessions to buy food with the Taliban unable to pay wages to civil servants, and urban communities are facing food insecurity on levels similar to rural areas for the first time.

UNICEF sounded the alarm, saying that at least 1 million children are at risk of losing their lives to server malnutrition.

With 14 million people across the country facing acute food insecurity, millions of other children will suffer from severe malnutrition by the end of the year, the organization has warned.

Winter is fast approaching, humanitarian groups say they are facing a race against time to help families who lack access to safe water, nutrition, and health services.

World Food Programme /courtesy/

According to the recent surveys conducted by the World Food Programme, the United Nations food assistance branch, 95 percent of households in Afghanistan are not consuming enough food, with parents having to eat less and skip meals to feed their children.

“As more families struggle to put food on the table, the nutritional health of mothers and their children is getting worse by the day”.

Herve Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF Rep, in Afghanistan

“Children are getting sicker and their families are less and less able to get them the treatment they need, warning that “rapidly spreading outbreaks of measles and acute watery diarrhea will only exacerbate the situation.

“According to Save the Children organization, it was reported that 8 children from a family lost their lives to starvation in western Kabul, was between the ages of 18 months and eight years old.

Save the Children Organization /courtesy/

Aid groups are urging countries, concerned about human rights under the Taliban, to engage with the new rulers to prevent a collapse they say could trigger a migration crisis similar to the 2015 exodus from Syria that took Europe.

Save the Children Foundation found that more than one in two Afghans will be facing a crisis or emergency levels of acute food insecurity from the next month and leading up to the March 2022 lean season.

Meanwhile, hunger is not the only threat that children in Afghanistan face, with growing fears for the safety of religious and ethnic minorities who say they are defacing persecution once again from the Taliban, while also being targeted in attacks by Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS.


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Avellon Williams

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