NEW YORK, 13 September – Save the Children urged aid-giving governments not to turn their backs on millions of hungry Afghan children ahead of a high-level UN meeting on Afghanistan today.
Afghanistan is in the grip of a severe humanitarian emergency which is growing more serious by the day as a result of rising food prices, drought and displacement, the agency warned.
The country has the second highest number of people facing emergency levels of hunger in the world, with an estimated 5.5 million children projected to face crisis levels of hunger in the second half of this year. Even before the recent escalation in violence, half of all children aged under five were expected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year. This number is now expected rise due to the combined effects of drought, COVID-19 and recent disruptions to aid efforts.
Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children, said more aid was urgently needed to save lives.
"For years, Afghan children have been battling to survive, but the odds are increasingly stacked against them. As we speak, millions of Afghans are on the brink of starvation. Families are selling what little they have to buy scraps of food for their children. Drought is killing off livestock and pushing millions of people into hunger. Afghanistan has been hit by disaster after disaster, and children are paying for it with their lives.
"More aid is desperately needed if Afghan children are going to have even a fighting chance of survival. Save the Children will continue doing everything we can to get life-saving services to children and their families, but for aid efforts to continue we urgently need governments to step up and meet the increased need.
"Years of conflict, natural disasters and the fallout of COVID-19 have devastated Afghanistan and its people. The scale of human suffering in unthinkable and growing worse by the day. The international community must invest in Afghanistan's future before any progress that has been made there unravels completely. Now is not the time to turn our backs on Afghan children."
Save the Children is an independent, impartial, and politically neutral organisation that has worked in Afghanistan since 1976 to deliver lifesaving services to children and their families across the country. The organisation provided health, education, child protection, nutrition, and livelihood services to more than 1.6 million Afghans in 2020.
Save the Children has launched a petition that calls on world leaders to ensure Afghan children get the aid they need, and to create safe and legal routes to those wanting to reach safety and build a new life.
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