KABUL – Save the Children has warned that children in Afghanistan are facing an imminent risk of starvation and death as the country grapples with its worst drought in 30 years – a crisis that has exacerbated the prevailing poverty and hunger in the country, particularly since the Taliban’s resurgence two years ago.
More than 75% of Afghan children are consuming less food than they did a year ago, with families resorting to desperate measures for survival. The dire situation has forced over a third (38.4%) of children to engage in labor to assist their struggling families, as revealed by a recent analysis by Save the Children.
Gwen Hines, Chief Executive at Save the Children, emphasizes the critical condition Afghan children face, as they confront the specter of starvation and hazardous labor. Hines condemns the UK government’s decision to significantly reduce funding for the country this year, labeling it a betrayal of essential principles.
A survey encompassing six provinces underscores the escalating needs brought about by a confluence of poverty, climate change, and conflict. The repercussions of funding cuts have left millions without vital food aid. Disturbingly, children have been pushed into dangerous labor, with reports of fatalities among them.
Afghanistan serves as a stark example of how the climate crisis wreaks havoc on agriculture-dependent families. The nation grapples with its third consecutive year of drought, disproportionately affecting over half the population, particularly in the northern regions where farming is a primary livelihood.
Hunger’s impact transcends physical health, affecting mental well-being, causing anxiety and depression. Women and girls bear a disproportionate burden, with female-headed households experiencing severe hunger at more than double the rate of male-headed households. Additionally, a 17% disparity exists between girls and boys in terms of reduced food consumption from the previous year.