Afghanistan: Price hikes push food out of reach for millions of children

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Aug. 25, 2021) — Millions of children in Afghanistan could be pushed into severe hunger as a result of rising food prices, drought, and displacement. The warning from Save the Children follows the UN reporting that the cost of wheat, rice, sugar, and cooking oil has increased by more than 50 percent compared with pre-COVID-19 prices.

Save the Children staff in Kabul, Faryab and Kunduz reported price hikes of up to 63 percent over the past month on goods such as flour, oil, beans, and gas. The organization warned that rising costs would leave many families unable to afford basic items.

Food and fuel prices have been rising since the beginning of the pandemic but have spiked since the escalation of the conflict in May. Prices are expected to increase further as border closures, and disruptions to imports affect the availability of basic goods.

A survey of 630 newly displaced families in Kabul, carried out by Save the Children earlier this month, already found that all of the families had run up debts in order to buy food. As a result, many families have been forced to sell their possessions, cut back on meals or send their children out to work in order to buy food.

The aid agency warned that people's ability to buy food is likely to be further limited by the lack of operating banks and ATMs, which prevents them from accessing their savings.

An estimated 5.5 million Afghan children were already projected to face crisis levels of hunger in the second half of this year. Save the Children is warning that this number could rise due to the combined effects of drought, the COVID-19 pandemic, and disruption to aid efforts following the Taliban takeover.

Athena Rayburn, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children Afghanistan, said:

"The spike in prices will push food out of reach for many families, particularly those who have been displaced from their homes and are living on next to nothing. Conflict, drought, and COVID-19 have already pushed millions of children into hunger and misery in Afghanistan -- now they could be pushed even closer to the brink of famine."

Globally a deadly combination of conflict, COVID-19, and the impact of climate change has pushed hunger and malnutrition levels to a record high, with an estimated 5.7 million children under five on the brink of starvation across the globe.

Save the Children is an independent and impartial organization that has worked in Afghanistan since 1976 to deliver life-saving services to children and their families across the country but has had to temporarily suspended services. The organization provided health, education, child protection, nutrition, and livelihoods services, reaching over 1.6 million Afghans in 2020.

To learn more about Save the Children's work in Afghanistan please visit