Children in Afghanistan: UNICEF appeals for USD 2bn to avert collapse of vital social services in Afghanistan

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched its largest-ever single-country appeal to urgently respond to the humanitarian needs of over 24 million people in Afghanistan, half of whom are children.

The appeal for USD 2 billion will help to avert the imminent collapse of health, nutrition, education and other vital social services for children and families, UNICEF said in a statement on Tuesday.
As the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Afghanistan, there are alarming disruptions in health and nutrition services, a disastrous food crisis, drought, outbreaks of measles, acute watery diarrhoea, polio and other preventable diseases, as well as the crippling onset of winter.

“The current humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is dire, especially for children. Winter has already set in and, without additional funding, UNICEF and partners will be unable to reach the children and families that need us the most,” said Alice Akunga, UNICEF Afghanistan Representative.

“As families struggle to put nutritious food on the table and health systems are further strained, millions of Afghan children are at risk of starvation and death. Others struggle to access water and sanitation, are cut off from their schools and at heightened risk of violence. As the desperation of families and children increases, UNICEF is doing everything possible to save and protect children.”

According to UNICEF, 1 in 2 children under five will be acutely malnourished in 2022 due to the food crisis and poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene services. Outbreaks of life-threatening diseases continue, with over 60,000 cases of measles reported in 2021. An estimated 8 of 10 Afghans drink bacteriologically contaminated water.

In addition, 10 million children are at risk of dropping out of school if teacher salaries are not paid and crippling poverty levels continue. Almost 4.5 million children are in need of mental health and psychosocial support, UNICEF said. (ANI)

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