U.N. Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesman Jens Laerke says 9.3 million people in Afghanistan will need humanitarian assistance this year. The world body has appealed for $550 million to support 5.6 million of the most vulnerable people.
“The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan today is deteriorating. We have a warning of another challenging year. We expect very high levels of conflicts and displacement and already this year, over 38,000 people have been newly displaced. In addition to that, we expect more returns of vulnerable families from Pakistan who will in fact not return to their home state but continue to be displaced inside Afghanistan. They return typically with very little, very few or assts at all and they really need our support,” said Jens Laerke.
Jens Laerke further added, “We are requesting for five hundred and fifty million US dollars, a little more than fifteen percent funded. With the top five donors are being United State, United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark and Australia”.
In the meantime, UNICEF reports thousands of Afghan women die every year from largely preventable pregnancy-related causes. In 2015, it says more than one in every 18 Afghan children died before their first birthday.
UNICEF spokesman, Christophe Boulierac, calls malnutrition a silent emergency. He says more than 41 percent of Afghan children under age five are stunted, one of the highest rates in the world.
“Stunting, as you know, is a sign of chronic under nutrition during the most critical periods of growth and development in early life,” said Boulierac. “Children who suffer from stunting are more likely to contract diseases, less likely to access basic health care, and do not perform well in school.”
Indeed, Boulierac notes Afghanistan’s education system has been devastated by more than three decades of conflict. He says 3.5 million children do not go to school. An estimated 75 percent of them are girls.