MADRID, March 24 (IPS) – After 20 long years (2011-2021) of the brutal war in Afghanistan by the US-led military coalition, which ended with the handover of the country to the Taliban in August 2021, 23 million Afghans are currently facing severe famine, economic bankruptcy, a collapsed health care system, unbearable family debt, and a devastating humanitarian crisis.
People in Afghanistan today are facing a crisis of food insecurity and malnutrition of “unequaled proportions”, said Ramiz Alakbarov, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, report on March 15, 2022.
“The rapid increase in people experiencing severe hunger – from 14 million in July 2021 to 23 million in March 2022 – has forced households to resort to desperate measures such as giving up meals or take on unprecedented debt to make sure there’s some food on the table. at the end of the day.”
“These unacceptable trade-offs have caused untold suffering, reduced the quality, quantity and variety of food available, led to high levels of childhood wasting, and other harmful actions on the physical and mental health of women, men and children,” warned the senior United Nations official.
95% of Afghans do not eat enough food
In Afghanistan, a staggering 95% of the population does not have enough to eat, with this proportion rising to nearly 100% for women-headed households. That’s an almost unthinkable number. It’s cruel, it’s a harsh reality, adds Ramiz Alakbarov.
Hospital wards are filled with malnourished children: smaller than normal, many one-year-olds weigh as much as a six-month-old in a developed country, and some are so weak that they can’t even move. Okay.
80% of all Afghans face debt
As Afghanistan continues to face the effects of a terrible drought, the prospect of another bad harvest this year, a financial and banking crisis so severe that more than 80 percent of the population is exposed. debt, and an increase in food and fuel. price, we cannot ignore the reality facing the community. The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan also said enormous challenges lie ahead.
“The rate of acute malnutrition in 28 of the 34 provinces is high, with more than 3.5 million children in need of nutritional support.”
Health care system on the verge of collapse
“Afghanistan’s health system is on the verge of collapse. Unless urgent action is taken, the country faces an impending humanitarian disaster, alert The United Nations’ top humanitarian official, Martin Griffiths, last September, just a month after the US-led military coalition abandoned the country in a sudden, chaotic retreat.
“For Afghanistan’s healthcare delivery system to collapse would be a disaster,” speak Griffiths, United Nations Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and emergency relief coordinator.
“People across the country will be denied access to primary health care services like emergency cesarean sections and trauma care.”
According to a United Nations assessment published at the end of October last year, the combined shocks of drought, conflict, COVID-19 and the economic crisis in Afghanistan, have left more than half of the population exposed. with a record level of hunger.
One Integrated Food Security Stage Classification (IPC) Report co-led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP), revealed at the end of October last year that the lives, livelihoods and access to food of 22.8 million people would be severely impacted.
“Is it urgent that we act efficiently and effectively to speed up and scale our deliveries in Afghanistan before winter cuts off a large part of the country, with millions of people? -? Including farmers, women, children and the elderly? -? Hungry in the cold winter”, speak FAO Director General QU Dongyu. “It’s a matter of life or death.”
The IPC report shows that more than one in two Afghans will face a Phase 3 or Phase 4 crisis of urgency in terms of severe food insecurity between November and the end of March, requiring There must be an urgent international response to avert a humanitarian disaster.
“Can’t we just wait and see the humanitarian catastrophes unfolding before our eyes? -? That is unacceptable,” he added.
Children are dying
This is the highest number of people with severe food insecurity ever recorded by the United Nations, during the 10 years of IPC analysis in Afghanistan.
And globally, the country is home to one of the largest numbers of people facing acute hunger.
“Famine is increasing and children are dying,” speak WFP CEO David Beasley. “We cannot feed people on promises – funding commitments must turn into hard cash, and the international community must come together to tackle this crisis, which is rapidly spiraling out of control.” .
The report shows that the number of Afghans facing acute hunger has increased by 37% since the last assessment in April.
Among those at risk are 3.2 million children under the age of 5, who are forecast to be acutely malnourished by the end of the year.
Last month, WFP and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warns that without immediate life-saving treatment, one million children are at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition.
And for the first time, urban residents suffer from food insecurity at the same rate as rural communities.
Unemployment is rampant
Meanwhile, rampant unemployment and liquidity crises are putting all major urban centers at risk of food insecurity at the Stage 4 emergency level, including the former middle class.
In rural areas, the severe impact of the second drought in four years continues to affect the livelihoods of 7.3 million people who depend on agriculture and livestock.
“Afghanistan is now among the world’s worst humanitarian crises – if not the worst – and food security has all but collapsed.” speak WFP chief.
“This winter, millions of Afghans will be forced to choose between emigration and starvation unless we can ramp up life-saving assistance, and unless the economy can be restored.”
This is the horrifying cost of another devastating war on unarmed humanity.
© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service