The United Nations’ World Food Programme has announced it will drop another two million people from food assistance in Afghanistan, as the country faces its third consecutive year of a devastating drought that is putting food and water out of reach, said Save the Children.
Arshad Malik, Save the Children Country Director in Afghanistan, is calling on the international community to uphold their obligations to the people in Afghanistan:
“Children and their families in Afghanistan are at breaking point after years of drought and economic crisis. In a recent survey we conducted in some provinces, three-quarters of children (76.1%) said they were eating less than they were last year, and we found that more and more children are being pushed into unsafe situations like child labour as their families struggle to cope.
“As international governments gather in Brussels next week to discuss Afghanistan, we call on them to uphold their obligations and commitments to the people of Afghanistan. It is genuinely frightening to think about what further misery these cuts will inflict on children. Now is not the time to walk away. More funding is needed, not less. Without more money the aid response will be crippled, meaning more hungry, malnourished, and sick children. Time is running out for the children of Afghanistan. The international community must act to stop more children being pushed from hunger crisis into catastrophe.”
Children in Afghanistan like one-year-old Shayesta* are already suffering from a drastic lack of food, the result of a deadly combination of climate change and poverty. The drought has caused crops to fail, and most days her family survives on tea and bread. Shayesta’s mother, Zahida,* told Save the Children:
“She (Shayesta) is very thin and has been ill for 40 days. One day she is fine and then sick for two days. She is very thin and not good. Even though she is weak I don’t want her to die. I am scared. I have already lost one child and I don’t want to lose my second child.”
Save the Children has worked in Afghanistan since 1976, including during periods of conflict, regime change, and natural disasters. It has programs in nine provinces and works with partners in an additional six provinces.
Since the Taliban regained control in August 2021, Save the Children has been scaling up its response to support the increasing number of children in need in areas that were previously inaccessible. Save the Children delivers health, nutrition, education, child protection, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, and food security and livelihood support. Since September 2021, Save the Children has reached more than 4 million people, including 2.1 million children.
MEDIA CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
*Names have been changed to protect identities.
Multimedia content available here.