All but 2% of Afghanistan’s population was left without food due to the worst drought in three decades, followed by freezing winter temperatures that triggered a crisis caused by the withdrawal of US and NATO troops.
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According to the latest data from United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), an estimated 24.4 million people – more than half the population – are in “urgent humanitarian need”, including 13.1 million children. Save children warned that the number of children facing malnutrition has increased by 700,000 to 3.9 million in the past year.
Arrangements for the “sale of a daughter for a future marriage” are “not uncommon” in Afghanistan, said Guardiansbut family is “handing over children at an increasingly young age because they cannot afford to feed them”.
Some desperate families have even resorted to organ sales, with an increasing number of Afghans reporting that “selling a kidney is their only way to make ends meet,” the paper added.
‘The worst humanitarian crisis’
Afghanistan’s ambassador to Geneva, Nasir Ahmad Andisha, who represents the old government and is still recognized by the UN, has warned that his country is “going through the worst humanitarian crisis in contemporary history”. .
Combined effects of drought, Covid-19 and economic sanctions imposed after the Taliban took power in August 2021 had what The Guardian described as “catastrophic consequences” for the economy, resulting in a “strong increase in inflation” that had “led to soaring food prices”.
The economic situation has been exacerbated by a “severe winter”, with freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall across most of the country’s 34 provinces forcing many Afghans “to choose between food and warmth”. “, speak Articles washington.
“Winter in Afghanistan is never easy,” says PBS News. But “this is the first time since the US and its allies withdrew and the Taliban took over,” and the level of suffering has reached new levels.
According to the US broadcaster continuing after the Taliban’s successful campaign to retake the country, “the international community has cut off non-humanitarian aid, frozen Afghanistan’s assets abroad, and imposed sanctions on new government”.
This response, “combined with crippling drought and already fragile institutions,” has led to an escalating economic and humanitarian crisis.
‘We can’t afford to eat’
According to The Guardian, “the kidney trade has been growing in Afghanistan for some time”. But “since the Taliban took power, the prices and conditions under which the illegal organ trade takes place has changed.”
The price of a kidney “used to range from $3,500 to $4,000 (£2,600 to £3,000)”, but has now “fallen below $1,500 (£1,100)”. However, “the number of volunteers is constantly increasing.”
A father of four from the western city of Herat told the newspaper that he had been trying to sell his kidney at private hospitals. “I even told them if they needed it urgently, I could sell below market price, but I haven’t heard back yet,” he said. “I need to feed my baby, I have no choice.”
Child labor has also “increased significantly since the formation of the Taliban-led government,” reports Afghanistan Hashte Subh newspapers.
In one city alone, Charikar in Parwan province, “more than 1,700 children are subjected to hard work”, according to data from the local Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
The Joe Biden administration is committed to continuing humanitarian assistance following the withdrawal of US and NATO troops in August 2021.
The United States “remains the largest provider of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and is contributing to the United Nations effort to raise more than $5 billion for the country,” he said. The Independent reported.
But “the United States has” unrecognized new government or lifting sanctions on the Taliban”, has “promoted the perception that sending money or doing business in Afghanistan is off-limits”, the paper added – with aid efforts being shortage”.
Aid groups have urged the Treasury Department to issue a “letter of comfort” to businesses and governments ensuring they will not face legal consequences for doing business in Afghanistan, but to no avail.
Meanwhile, nearly $7 billion in Afghan currency remains frozen at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Leading charities have also called on “the World Bank and its key shareholders” to “free up more than $1.2 billion in frozen funds to pay teachers and key staff members.” other governments and prevent the collapse of essential services”. Financial Times (FT) reported.
The article went on to “freeze money committed to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust, the main lead agency for foreign governments and other donors” last August, amid “pressure from countries including the US to avoid transferring cash to the Taliban regime”.
Save the Children is one of a number of charities petitioning the bank to “issue money beyond humanitarian aid to areas including education and health”.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/middle-east/955515/effort-aid-afghanistan-falling-short-winter-crisis Afghanistan aid efforts ‘short of breath’ as winter crisis escalates