One step closer to the biggest hunger crisis of the 21st century

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Image Source: Enayatullah Azad / NRC

Mujtaba Haris is a One Young World Ambassador and Founder of the Organization for Afghanistan Local Studies, which seeks to collect and analyze new data to educate the government, organizations, and businesses. He is also the Co-Founder of Generation Positive G+, an independent, non-profit and public welfare organisation that serves as a supporting hand for youth and the new generation.

Views reflect those of the author(s). Content has been edited for length and/or clarity.

 

After the Taliban advanced their fights all over Afghanistan, especially in the north of the country, thousands are forced to uproot and flee to safety. An estimated 550,000 people have been displaced by the latest violence since January, bringing the total number of displaced to 3.5 million.

In addition, close to 120,000 Afghans have fled from rural areas and provincial towns to Kabul province since the beginning of the year. Afghans are facing an unexpected situation; in the past 11 days, 300,000 well-equid armies broadly trained, but addled by faulty leadership, exhaustion, and corruption, leaving them unable to hold the Taliban back and, in many cases, walking away without firing a single shot. On 15 August 2021, Ashraf Ghani fled the country. The Taliban entered Kabul; the government collapsed nine days after the Taliban seizing its first provincial capital, Zaranj, of Nimruz province.

Over a thousand Afghans are rushing to the Hamid Karzai International airport to leave the country without a passport or visa; at least 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members standing guard have been killed and at least 200 wounded in Hamid Karzai International airport's horrific suicide bombing incident, with hundreds intimidated, and other physical violence.

The violent conflict continues to disrupt the lives of millions of Afghans who must increasingly fend for themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic, droughts all over Afghanistan, and other climate-related disasters. The situation in Afghanistan is rapidly deteriorating, and thousands of disparate people and orphaned children are arriving in cities like Kabul, Mazar – E – Sharif, and Herat.

 

humanitarian help

 

Displaced Afghans reach out for aid at a camp in Kabul on Tuesday (Photo credit: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images).

18.4 million Afghans need humanitarian assistance. 75% of those in need are women and girls.

Even before the Taliban's siege, Afghanistan had the second-highest number of people after Yemen facing emergency hunger levels in the world.

The fast increase in fighting has put record levels of civilians in danger, with women and girls bearing the brunt of the violence.

The Afghan people urgently need humanitarian support; priorities include food, essential items such as blankets and hygiene kits, and psychological support & counselling services.

18.4 million Afghans need humanitarian assistance. 75% of those needs are women and girls. Even before the Taliban seize, Afghanistan had the second-highest number of people - after Yemen - facing emergency hunger levels in the world.

The fast increase in fighting has put record levels of civilians in danger, with women and girls bearing the brunt of the violence.

An estimated one million Afghan children are projected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition over this year and could die without treatment, the UN warned on Monday. In a statement, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said, “around 10 million children across Afghanistan need humanitarian assistance to survive.” She added that “an estimated 4.2 million children in Afghanistan are out of school, including more than 2.2 million girls.”The people of Afghanistan are starving. The emergency response to Afghanistan must fund and start as soon as possible to continue delivering lifesaving aid, providing emergency cash assistance and protection services for internally displaced people all over Afghanistan, huge cities like Kabul, Mazar – E – Sharif, and Herat.

Photo credit: Ahmad Edris Zabihpor

 

Shazia, a 7-year-old from Kapisa province, is seen begging at Shar E Now, Kabul after she left her school to find some money to survive. (Photo credit: Ahmad Edris Zabihpor)

Photo credit: Ahmad Edris Zabihpor

 

Six-year-old Hassan from Daikundi province came to Kabul with her mother and three sisters to Kabul; he was sleeping because of no shoes to polish after the Taliban takeover the Kabul. (Photo credit: Ahmad Edris Zabihpor)

Hassan is six years old from Daikundi province, displaced to Kabul due to poverty and lack of food with her mother and three sisters to survives. Since February 2021, he has been cleaning shoes at Murad Khane near to the Ministry of Finance. After the Taliban seized Kabul, the Ministry of Finance is closed, and government servants are not coming to their works.

Hassan said, “Before the Taliban comes, every day I was busy cleaning and polishing shoes. In the last seven days, I didn’t be able to polish a shoe. We are hungry; my small sister can’t sleep at night because of hunger.”

Hassan is not alone in his struggle. There are 2 million other street children working all over Afghanistan.

According to the UN, more than 80,000 children in Afghanistan have fled their homes since the start of June alone amid escalating violence. The severe hunger crisis confronting children in drought-hit Afghanistan will heighten with aid efforts on hold, putting thousands of young lives at risk as the world faces its hugest hunger crisis of the 21st century.

Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, is witnessing a massive surge in commodities prices and suspension of banking services as the Taliban took control of the nation last week after the fall of the Ashraf Ghani government. People in Kabul are experiencing difficulties due to the closure of banks and the biggest money-changing market Sarai Shahzada. In Kabul, the price of an 80 KG bag of flowers went from 1700 AFN to 3800 AFN, a 100% increase in a few days.

market vendor

 

(Ali Madadi, a street food seller, is in front of Kabul University, After the Taliban takeover, all universities are closed and Ali is facing a massive financial problem. Photo credit: Ahmad Edris Zabihpor)

 

All Afghans are facing famine; the severity of the situation brings new urgency to act. Afghans deserve aid. World leaders must step up, especially the G7, to provide critical assistance and rally others to join the response.

International allies imposing general sanctions and cutting aid inside Afghanistan would be devestating. It would deepen a humanitarian disaster, cause families to become dependent on the narcotics trade for survival, and formulate more refugees.

Afghans are in grave danger, this situation cannot go ignored, and all world leaders should stand side-by-side with the Afghan people and humanitarian organizations committed to the people of Afghanistan. Now is the time to work together with all international allies and aid organizations. Afghans, especially Children and women’s desperately need access to services, including nutrition support, to survive.

 

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