According to the UN, 1.1 million Afghan children under 5 may experience acute malnutrition this year as more hungry, wasting-away toddlers are taken to hospital wards. After the Taliban took over Afghanistan last year, the UN and other relief agencies fed millions with an emergency aid programme.
According to a report released this month, poverty is soaring in Afghanistan, food costs are rising due to the Ukraine war, and foreign financial commitments have not been fulfilled. Children and women trying to feed themselves and their families are falling victim.
Nazia lost two girls as well as two sons under the age of 2 to hunger. Nazia, 30, claimed all four died from poverty and financial troubles. She couldn’t afford to treat her sick children.
Nazia as well as her 7-month-old daughter received treatment for malnutrition at Charakar Hospital in Parwan. Her drug-addicted day worker spouse rarely earns money, she added. She uses one name like many Afghans.
UNICEF expects 1.1 million children to suffering from serious acute malnutrition this year, up from slightly under 1 million last year.
UNICEF calls severe wasting the worst kind of malnutrition because it compromises a child’s immune system. They get many diseases and become so frail they can’t absorb the nourishment.
UNICEF official in Afghanistan, Mohamed Ag Ayoya, tweeted last week that the number of children under 5 hospitalised to health institutions with severe acute malnutrition has risen from 16,000 to 18,000 in the last 2 years and 28,000 in March 2022.
Afghanistan was already suffering a starvation catastrophe due to a decades-long drought and years of war when the Taliban took office in August. Sanctions imposed cut off government funding, devastating the economy.
Millions fell into poverty and couldn’t buy food. According to UN data, half of the 38 million inhabitants lived below the poverty line last year. As the economy crumbles and prices increase, that may reach 97% of the total population
Because of poverty, “mothers don’t get sufficient nourishment throughout pregnancy and after birth,” says a Charakar hospital doctor.
Dr. Mohammad Sediq, chief of the children’s ward at a hospital in southern Kandahar, claimed 30 malnourished children perished in the last six months.
Kobra couldn’t nurse her 6-month-old. She remarked, “He’s always losing weight and crying from hunger, but I can’t help him.”
Jamila’s 8-month-old baby died last month of acute starvation, she claimed. Without support, she fears about her other four children.
“The government hasn’t assisted us, no one has inquired if we’re hungry or have food,” she claimed.
UN organisations intensified aid following the Taliban takeover and today feed 38 percent of the overall population.