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Millions of children’s lives at risk in Afghanistan

UNICEF launched its largest ever single-country appeal today to urgently respond to the humanitarian needs of over 24 million people in Afghanistan, half of whom are children.

As the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Afghanistan, 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 a.i. “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.”

UNICEF estimates that 1 in 2 children under five will be acutely malnourished in 2022 due to the food crisis and poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene services. 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. In addition, 10 million children are at risk of dropping out of school if teacher salaries are not paid and crippling poverty levels continue. Almost 4.5 million children are in need of mental health and psychosocial support. With harsh winter conditions, where temperatures can reach as low as -12 degrees Celsius, families are struggling to heat their homes and keep their children warm.

Source: UNICEF

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