Afghanistan: Over 10 million Afghan children need humanitarian help, says UNICEF


UNICEF has expressed concern over a looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan after the Taliban captured Kabul and drove out the Afghan government.

“Recent developments in Afghanistan have taken a heavy toll on the country’s children and their families. The long-running humanitarian crisis has become a triple crisis: the recent escalation in conflict, a third wave of COVID-19, and drought. Since the end of May, the number of people internally displaced because of conflict and in need of immediate humanitarian aid more than doubled, reaching 550,000,”


said in a statement.

“For this work to continue, UNICEF requires access and all the guarantees of safety that come with that access. UNICEF has prepositioned essential supplies, such as ready-to-use therapeutic food and vaccines, throughout the country.  We are also scaling up lifesaving water and sanitation efforts, such as water trucking and hygiene kits

,” the statement added.

According to UNICEF, more than 10 million Afghan children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance even as heavy fighting rages in northern Afghanistan between the Taliban and rival Afghan factions.

“The combined impact of insecurity, internal displacement, poverty, COVID-19 and water scarcity is being felt by the most vulnerable: children, including children with disabilities, women, including pregnant women, and the elderly,” UNICEF said.

“Half of the population – more than 18 million people, including around 10 million children – needs humanitarian assistance. UNICEF predicts that without urgent action, 1 million children under the age of 5 will be severely malnourished by the end of 2021. The humanitarian needs of children and women are only likely to increase over the coming months amidst a severe drought and consequent water scarcity, the devastating socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the onset of winter,” it added

The Taliban takeover of political power in Afghanistan has prompted a massive rush of Afghans and foreigners desperate to leave the country and as a result, a vast crowd has gathered in and around the Kabul airport.

However, UNICEF has reiterated its commitment to stay in Afghanistan and carry out humanitarian work among the Afghan people.

“Children should not pay for conflict with their childhoods. Afghanistan’s children need peace. Our commitment to Afghanistan’s children is unequivocal

,” the UNICEF statement said.

“UNICEF is committed to continuing its work for children and families across Afghanistan. To reach the hardest to reach children, UNICEF is advocating with all parties to conflict for safe and unhindered access, in line with the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action, so that we can deliver much needed support to the Afghan population,” it added.

“Millions of young people will continue to need essential services, including health, lifesaving vaccination drives against polio and measles, nutrition, protection, shelter, water and sanitation. UNICEF is therefore scaling up its lifesaving programmes for children and women – including through the delivery of health, nutrition and water services to displaced families.”

The global body also called upon the Taliban and other Afghan factions to desist from committing human rights violations and recruiting children as fighters.

There have been rising concerns over the fate of Afghan women and increasingly widespread human rights violations as the Taliban enforces strict Islamic laws in Afghanistan.

“As UNICEF in Afghanistan continues its work through conflict and COVID-19, we’re calling for attacks on children to end. Hard-won girls’ rights, including access to education to be protected, and safe humanitarian access upheld. All children need protection and peace now

,” it said..

“UNICEF has also been deeply troubled about reports of escalating grave violations, including children being recruited into the conflict by armed groups. Many other children are traumatized after witnessing atrocities committed against loved ones,” UNICEF added.


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