18.4 million Afghans need ‘life-saving help’: NGO

KABUL (Tolo News): A humanitarian organization reports that 18.4 million Afghans, half of the country’s population, need life-saving assistance, and 9.7 million of them are children. The organization says that $1.3 billion more is needed in humanitarian aid.

“Millions of people are suffering every day because of poverty and conflict. It’s especially hard on children, many of whom have known nothing but violence. According to the latest UN figures, nearly 6,000 people, a third of them children, were killed and injured between January and September last year,” said Chris Nyamandi, the Save the Children’s Director in Afghanistan. Nyamandi said that the conflicts in the country will continue to fuel humanitarian need this year.

“This will threaten people’s wellbeing and limit access to essential services like hospitals and clinics as well as humanitarian assistance,” he added. “Now the schools are closed because of the harsh winter conditions and COVID-19 restrictions and they won’t reopen to until March. Meanwhile, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis,” Nyamandi said. The organization says that the conflicts have displaced thousands of families in Afghanistan. “We fled to Rodat district in Nangarhar province due to intensive conflict. Life is difficult,” ten-year-old Brishna, a resident of Nangarhar, was quoted by Save the Children as saying. COVID-19 in Afghanistan is having a catastrophic impact on millions of vulnerable families, the organization says.

In 2020, World Bank estimates revealed that the pandemic had led to massive disruptions to imports including vital household items, which in turn is leading to rapid inflation, said the report. Ongoing natural and man-made disasters, and the added health and socio-economic strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, will deepen the humanitarian impact across the country, the organization said.

In response, Save the Children is calling for at least another $1.3 billion in humanitarian assistance to help the Afghan people in 2021. Lacking this, the humanitarian community will struggle to meet the growing needs of an entire generation of children whose lives have been blighted by conflict, Save the Children says.