Afghanistan. Food insecurity and malnutrition threaten ‘an entire generation’ |

Ramiz Alakbarovwho is also Deputy Special Representative, issued a declaration saying acute hunger in the country has risen from 14 million in July to 23 million in March, forcing households to resort to “desperate measures” to put food on the table.

“Unacceptable trade-offs have caused untold suffering, reduced the quality, quantity and variety of food available, led to high levels of wasting in children and other adverse effects on the physical and mental well-being of women, men and children,” he said.

‘Hard reality’

95% of Afghans do not have enough to eatwith that number rising to nearly 100 percent in female-headed households, according to the UN Resident Coordinator, who is also Deputy Head of the UN Assistance Mission, MANUA.

“It’s a number so high it’s almost inconceivable. Yet, devastatingly, this is the harsh reality,” he said.

Mr Alakbarov painted a picture of hospital wards full of malnourished children, many of whom weighed at the age of one what a six-month-old baby would weigh in a developed country, some being “so weak that they are unable to move.

relieve hunger

As Afghanistan continues to grapple with the effects of a terrible drought, the prospect of another poor harvest this year, a banking and financial crisis so severe that it has pushed more than 80% of the population into debt , and an increase in food resources and fuel prices, the UN official attested, “we cannot ignore the reality that communities are facing”.

Tremendous challenges await ushe said, reiterating that the UN and its partners are “doing everything possible” to alleviate the effects of hunger and malnutrition, while empowering communities to protect and maintain their livelihoods. sustenance in the future.

So far this year, humanitarian partners have assisted 8.2 million people with life-saving and life-saving food assistance, including emergency food rations, school meals, farming supplies and nutritious food and supplements for nursing mothers and their infants.

Over the coming months, the UN and partners will continue to focus on scaling up response activities, reaching previously underserved and remote areas that active conflict had made inaccessible.

Reaching the malnourished

Acute malnutrition rates in 28 of 34 provinces are high with over 3.5 million children in need of nutritional treatment support, said Dr. Alakbarov.

He explained that since mid-August, more than 2,500 nutritional treatment sites in the 34 provinces, urban and rural, are serving 800,000 acutely malnourished children, “and we expect to reach 3.2 million children affected this year.

“We also aim to reach one million people through skills training, one million children through school feeding and millions more people, directly and indirectly, through programs that will protect and strengthen livelihoods. agriculture on which so much of the population depends,” added the UN representative.

Humanitarian response needed

Although a massive humanitarian response mounted since August prevented “our worst fears from being realized over the winter”, Dr Alakbarov recalled that food insecurity and malnutrition remain “at historic levels” and require a “immediate, sustained and large-scale humanitarian assistance”. response.”

On March 31, the UN, the UK, Germany and Qatar will co-host an international conference donor conference in support of the humanitarian response.

“The fate of an entire generation of Afghans hangs in the balance,” he said, assuring the UN would continue to provide regular updates over the coming weeks.

© UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

Displaced families fetch water during a harsh winter in Kabul, Afghanistan.

A call for help

The senior UN official urged member states to “dig deep” for the Afghan people and continue to generously support rescue efforts.

While acknowledging that humanitarian aid alone is not enough to meet the challenges of today or tomorrow, he underlined that “it is absolutely necessary to keep people alive and healthy, and to ‘to prevent vulnerable people in the most precarious situations from ever sinking further into need’.

As we collectively help millions of Afghans rebuild their lives and communities, we must remember that the long road to a better future is impossible on an empty stomach,” he said.

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