UNICEF said in a statement issued Tuesday that the appeal for US$2 billion will help to avert the imminent collapse of health, nutrition, WASH, education and other vital social services for children and families.
This comes amid a continuing humanitarian crisis. According to UNICEF there are alarming disruptions in health and nutrition services, a disastrous food crisis, drought, outbreaks of measles, acute watery diarrhea, polio and other preventable diseases, as well as the crippling onset of winter.
“The current humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is dire, especially for children. Winter has already set in and, without additional funding, UNICEF and partners will be unable to reach the children and families that need us the most,” said Alice Akunga, UNICEF Afghanistan Representative.
“As families struggle to put nutritious food on the table and health systems are further strained, millions of Afghan children are at risk of starvation and death. Others struggle to access water and sanitation, are cut off from their schools and at heightened risk of violence. As the desperation of families and children increases, UNICEF is doing everything possible to save and protect children,” she said.
UNICEF estimates that 1 in 2 children under five will be acutely malnourished and that outbreaks of life-threatening diseases continue, with over 60,000 cases of measles reported in 2021.
An estimated 8 of 10 Afghans drink bacteriologically contaminated water and 10 million children are at risk of dropping out of school if teacher salaries are not paid and crippling poverty levels continue.
According to UNICEF, the organization will prioritize life-saving interventions to treat children and provide other vital services.
UNICEF plans to use the funds to scale up services to treat one million children with severe acute malnutrition; vaccinate 10.5 million children against measles; provide safe water to 11.5 million people; and ensure that 7.5 million children are accessing education. The organization will also expand the use of humanitarian cash transfers to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable families and children.
“UNICEF is strongly urging donors to support Afghanistan’s children through its humanitarian appeal,” added Akunga.
“We need to call to mind our common humanity and do everything it takes to keep children alive, well-fed, safe and learning. It won’t be easy but with the lives and wellbeing of so many children at stake, we must rise to the challenge. We appeal to the international community to stand with us, shoulder to shoulder, so that the children of Afghanistan can have the life and future that is their right.”