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Over seven million children at risk of hunger – Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 6, 2020)

Save the Children, in a press report on May 01, 2020, revealed that over 7 million children in Afghanistan were at risk of hunger because of the sky rising prices of food amid the Coronavirus lockdown.

It says, “At a time when Afghan children need adequate daily nutrition to help strengthen their immune systems to fight the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, the price of basic foods is rising under the lockdown, making it harder for families to feed themselves.”

According to the report, a third of the population, including 7.3 million children, will face food shortages in April and May due to the current pandemic.

It refers to a survey of the World Food Program, which indicates that only in the past month, the price of wheat flour and cooking oil in Afghanistan’s main city markets have increased by up to 23 percent as supply is unable to meet demand, while the cost of rice, sugar, and pulses have increased by between 7 and 12 percent.

“While food prices are increasing, the financial ability of daily wage laborers to buy food is decreasing, as casual work dries up because of nationwide restrictions. A large portion of the Afghan workforce relies on the informal sector, with no safety nets when work is scarce,” the report states.

This comes as even before the global COVID-19 crisis, reportedly, the total number of children who needed some form of humanitarian support this year stood at 5.26 million, making war-torn Afghanistan one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child, it underlines.

According to the report, the most recent nutrition surveys in Afghanistan show that an estimated two million children under five will suffer from the most life-threatening form of extreme hunger annually.

“The effects of the lockdown coupled with one of the weakest health systems in the world – Afghanistan has just 0.3 doctors per 1,000 people – means malnourished and sick children are much less likely to get the life-saving treatment they need to survive,” says the report.

Save the Children, narrates the story of a 13-year-old Mustafa in Sar-e-Pul province of Afghanistan with his four siblings and mother.

“Mustafa goes to school and works in a local food shop to supplement the family income. But since the lockdown, he is at home, unable to neither go to school nor earn any money to help put food on the table.”

Mustafa tells Save the Children, “We don’t have any food at home. From three meals a day we are down to two and sometimes just one. My mother is trying to find food for us, she is weaving carpets to sell but everywhere is closed right now. She can only make us tea with dry bread. My other siblings sometimes ask for good food, but my mother can’t afford to feed us. It’s hard to be alive.”

Timothy Bishop, Save the Children’s Country Director in Afghanistan, said, “We are deeply concerned that this pandemic will lead to a perfect storm of hunger, disease, and death in Afghanistan unless the world takes action now to ensure vulnerable children and their families have enough to eat, especially those in remote areas and the urban poor.”

“The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 means many families are stressed about putting food on the table, with no clear indication of how long the current crisis will go on.”

Meanwhile, children who miss out on their daily nutritional needs are at a far greater risk of getting sick, he said adding that in extreme cases the lack of food may even affect a child’s physical and mental development, with devastating consequences for the rest of their lives.

Bishop further said, “For many Afghans, the biggest impact of the pandemic will not be the virus itself, but the hunger caused by lockdown measures and a breakdown in supply lines. We are facing the very real risk that children could die from starvation.”

He underlines that what is needed is for the international community to urgently fly in food supplies to be distributed to some of the most vulnerable communities in the country, including children, pregnant women, the elderly, malnourished, and those who are sick.

Bishop calls on the government to provide food amid the lockdown, noting “We also urge the Afghan government to facilitate the rapid distribution of food, despite the nationwide lockdown.”

He concludes his statement emphasizing, “Afghan children have suffered enough. Most have known nothing but conflict in their lives. We cannot allow COVID-19 to further rob them of their futures.”

COVID-19

Afghanistan Coronavirus updates: 34,194 cases, 971 deaths

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(Last Updated On: July 10, 2020)

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has jumped to 34,194 with 971 deaths in Afghanistan.

According to daily Coronavirus, updates released the Public Health Ministry, 286 new Coronavirus cases have been registered in the past 24 hours.

The cases were recorded in Kabul 83, Herat 81, Balkh 9, Nangarhar 1, Bamyan 30, Takhar 5, Baghlan 3, Badghis 30, Logar 2, Kunduz 5, Parwan 2, Diakundi 16, Wardak 3, Laghman 1, Panjsher 2, and Ghor 13.

Meanwhile, 12 COVID-19 patients have died in the past 24 hours. The death cases were reported as follows: Kabul (10), Herat (2), Maidan Wardak (1), and Takhar (1).

The Health Ministry said that 41 patients have been discharged from hospitals in the past 24 hours, bringing the total recoveries to 20,882 in the country.

It comes that World Bank has approved a $200 million grant to help Afghanistan mitigate COVID-19 impacts and provide relief to vulnerable people and businesses.

The World Bank said that the Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant comprises $100 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and $100 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.

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Afghanistan witnesses decline in Coronavirus cases: MoPH

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2020)

Jawad Osmani, Acting Minister of the Public Health, says the number of people infected with the Coronavirus decreased to halve compared to a month and a half ago. 

Coronavirus has declined in Afghanistan; as the Acting Minister of Public Health himself has removed the medical mask from his face at the press conference and used a home mask instead. 

Javad Osmani said: “Compared to two months ago, the infected patients to the virus decreased by 30 percent. If the Coronavirus patients do not reach less than 5%, the situation will not get back to normal.”

On the other hand, the Anti-Corona Emergency Committee warns that as of today, 15 moving teams are inspecting restaurants, cafes, and parks, and if they do not follow the health recommendations, they will be fined first and then they will be banned.

“Today we have sent 15 moving teams to the city to fine and block restaurants and cafes that have started arbitrarily, and this time nothing is acceptable,” said Mohammad Yaqub Haidari, Kabul’s governor.

Meanwhile, officials at the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs said that those citizens who remain out of the Hajj shift this year will be able to perform the Hajj next year while maintaining the same shift.

Officials at the Ministry of Public Health say that researchers have found that the Coronavirus can spread through the air. They warn people if they do not avoid unnecessary patrols and commute on Eid al-Adha, they will see the second wave of coronavirus.

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COVID-19

Coronavirus: Spread of COVID-19 in Afghanistan discussed

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(Last Updated On: July 8, 2020)

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