UNICEF said the children of Afghanistan have paid the heaviest price during the recent conflicts, and urged donors to step up support.
UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, George Laria-Adji, stressed that the needs of the children in Afghanistan are greater than ever, and they cannot be abandoned now.
in a statement after returning from the Afghan capital, Kabul, Adji said that the children, although they bear the least responsibility in creating the crisis in the country, have paid the heaviest price for the conflict in the past weeks, with the increase in conflict and insecurity.
He added – according to the United Nations News Center – that some children were not only forced to leave their homes and drop out of schools and friends, but were also deprived of basic health care which could keep them safe from diseases such as polio and tetanus.
“Now, with the security crisis, skyrocketing food prices, severe drought, the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and another harsh winter around the corner, children are at greater risk than ever before,” Adji said.
UNICEF projects that one million children under the age of five will suffer from severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening disease, if the current trend continues.
They noted that there are more than 4 million children, including 2.2 million girls, who are out of school.
About 300,000 children were forced to leave their homes, some in their pajamas while they slept, and others while they were sitting quietly reading school books. “Many of them have witnessed scenes that no child should ever see.”
Adji said that children and adolescents suffer from anxiety and fear and are in dire need of mental health support.
He added that some partners are considering cutting aid to Afghanistan, describing the move as very worrying and raises some key questions.
He stressed that there is an urgent need for more resources, and noted that the organization had launched an appeal to raise $192 million.
He urged donors to increase their support for vulnerable families and children struggling in the midst of an escalating humanitarian crisis.