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10 million Afghan children need immediate humanitarian assistance to survive: UNICEF

UNICEF said if the current situation continues, one million children under five in Afghanistan will suffer from severe acute malnutrition. A number of doctors say that cases of malnourished children have increased in the past month.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: September 18, 2021 9:17 IST
afghanistan humanitarian crisis
Image Source : AP

Afghan women and children receive bread donations in Kabul's Old City

The United Nations Child Fund (UNICEF) reported that ten million Afghan children need immediate help as they lack access to sufficient food, medicine and drinking water. According to UNICEF, due to a lack of access to basic needs, many children are malnourished they must lie in hospital beds, reported Tolo News.

"Today in Afghanistan there are nearly 10 million children in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Those least responsible for this crisis are paying the highest price. There are children within communities without access to water because of the drought. There are children missing out on critical vaccines," said Sam Mort, chief of communications for UNICEF in Afghanistan.

Displaced families said that they do not have sufficient funds to feed their children, reported Tolo News.

The displaced families said they cannot afford to provide basic needs for their children. "The children need clothes and food. When there is no food and no clothes, the United Nations should help us," said Shahla, a displaced woman.

UNICEF said if the current situation continues, one million children under five in Afghanistan will suffer from severe acute malnutrition, reported Tolo News.

A number of doctors say that cases of malnourished children have increased in the past month.

Mohammad Latif Baher, head of the Indira Gandhi Children Hospital in Kabul, said, "With the recent changes, the number of patients coming to our hospital has increased."

"If the international community does not pay attention to the people of Afghanistan, especially the children, Afghanistan will witness a human crisis," said Zarqa Yaftali, a children's rights activist said.

Afghan girls must not be excluded from schools: UNICEF

Also, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has welcomed the reopening of schools in Afghanistan from Saturday, but stressed that girls must not be kept away from the classroom. "We are deeply worried", UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore said in a statement on Friday, "that many girls may not be allowed back at this time".

"Even before the most recent humanitarian crisis, 4.2 million children were not enrolled in school. Around 60 per cent of them are girls. Every day that girls miss out on education is a missed opportunity for them, their families and their communities," she added.

According to news reports, the announcement of school reopening from the Taliban, referred only to the return of boys, making no reference to a return date for girls. This move is contrary to promises made Taliban after assuming power in Kabul.

"Girls cannot, and must not, be left behind. It is critical that all girls, including older girls, are able to resume their education without any further delays. For that, we need female teachers to resume teaching," Fore added.

The Taliban last month regained complete control over Afghanistan after US troops withdrew and the Afghan Government collapsed, prompting concern that they will reimpose a harsh interpretation of Islamic law that prohibits girls from attending school.

According to UNICEF, significant progress has been made in education in the country over the past two decades. 

"The number of schools tripled. The number of children in school increased from 1 million to 9.5 million."

The UN agency, led by Fore, therefore urged development partners to support education "for all children" in Afghanistan.

"UNICEF will continue to advocate with all actors so that all girls and boys have an equal chance to learn and develop the skills they need to thrive and build a peaceful and productive Afghanistan," Fore stated. 

(With inputs from ANI)

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