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April 29, 2024

Afghanistan Humanitarian Crisis: 23.7 Million People in Need, UNICEF Reports

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, with as many as 23.7 million people, including 12.3 million children, requiring urgent assistance in 2024, according to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Despite the staggering need, only 35 percent of the required $1.4 billion in aid for Afghan children has been secured, the agency reported in March.

The rise in poverty in Afghanistan is attributed to a combination of long-standing conflicts, climate change, economic recession, and escalating unemployment, as per the findings of UNICEF’s latest report. Since the beginning of 2024, Afghanistan has recorded 14,570 suspected cases of measles, resulting in 71 deaths. Alarmingly, over 11,000 of these cases are among children under the age of five, with more than 6,000 affecting women.

Highlighting the vulnerable situation of female staff, UNICEF urged its humanitarian partners to prioritize their safety in Afghanistan. This call comes amidst mounting concerns from organizations like ‘Save the Children,’ which reported that 250,000 Afghan children returning from Pakistan are facing shortages of food and shelter.

Responding to the crisis, the World Food Programme has been distributing food and cash to approximately six million people in Afghanistan every month, as of April 27. However, despite these efforts, UN estimates suggest that around 15.8 million people in Afghanistan are on the brink of food insecurity crises and emergency levels.

To address the pressing needs of the Afghan population, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has requested a budget of $3.6 billion. This funding is crucial to provide essential assistance, including food, shelter, healthcare, and education, to millions of Afghans facing dire circumstances.

The situation in Afghanistan underscores the urgent need for sustained international support and coordinated efforts to alleviate the suffering of millions, particularly vulnerable children and women. Without immediate and substantial intervention, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is poised to worsen, with devastating consequences for its population.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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