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Editorial: Premature winter, acute hunger

Afghanistan has been pushed deeper into an already dire food security crisis plus hunger and harsh winter, already exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic. Extreme weather events, ongoing conflict and high food prices, would leave millions of Afghans at the verge of acute hunger. Thousands of homeless Afghans are huddling on the sides of freezing roads this winter with little shelter and nothing to eat. Since the Afghanistan Meteorological Department has warned that this winter will be severely cold, the government’s inability, and endemic corruption, will immensely threaten the lives of the vulnerable people. Defenseless people could lose their lives to the harsh winter and their children could trigger into extreme situations. Prior to this, lockdown measures imposed to fight the wild spread of coronavirus, between March and end of May, have led to the worsening of an already desperate food security. Small scale income-generating activities were most shut down – caused to diminish savings, impacting the ability to buy food and the daily wagers have economically hit miserably. The Afghans are back at work after the lockdown, but the fallout from not saving for months is huge. Moreover day-to-day expenses were, and still are, affecting this community. With premature winter, putting food on the table is getting harder. The government should worry about this. People can go to any extent when there is not enough food to go around, and see their children crying of starvation. A Rapid Gender Analysis in Afghanistan conducted in mid-2020, in which sixty-two percent of respondents said food is their highest need due to covid-19 lockdown. As of Sunday, over 43,000 positive cases are reported, but testing is extremely limited – it fears those numbers could be much higher than has reported. Likely, there is no report from rural areas, accessing health facilities can be incredibly challenging there. Another major issue is that we are facing the most acute protracted internal displacement crisis in the world. When conflict approaches, many families pack up their belongings to reach a safer place. Their remaining assets would be looted while they are gone. This is another misery. Unfortunately, despite much progress, Afghanistan remains one of the world’s poorest countries, with more half of its population living under the poverty line, while corruption and embezzlement reached its peak, and war has been intensified. The government must wake up and see people’s situation from an open eye, it’s too devastating as they are going through huge difficulties at the status quo.

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