Cold, sickness and hunger.. What made this winter disastrous for the Afghans?
The website of the British newspaper The Independent published a report on what Afghans are suffering from this winter, describing it as catastrophic, and pointed out the report With the onset of winter, 8 million Afghans are on the brink of starvation, and a million children are at risk of dying over the next three months if they are not helped immediately.
The report pointed out that several factors combined to make this winter a turning point for Afghanistan; The war that was raging during the past years, the economic collapse, the 27-year drought, and the COVID-19 pandemic; All factors contributed to the displacement of 3.5 million Afghans, with a severe drop in temperatures, in some places reaching -15 degrees Celsius.
The report quoted Saleh Saeed, CEO of the Disaster Emergency Committee – an alliance of 15 British charities – as confirming that there is a food shortage crisis in Afghanistan, with crazy price hikes that prompted people to sell everything just to buy the basics.
The report indicated that the Disaster Emergency Committee issued an alert in mid-December calling for funding for programs that address food shortages and provide shelter and health care for Afghans suffering from severe drought that has led to crop failures and prompted herders to sell livestock; Which exacerbated the crisis.
The report pointed out that at the end of 2020, there were 3.5 million Afghans displaced throughout the country, and with the increased fighting in September 2021, more than 670,000 others were displaced from their homes, about 80% of them were women and children, noting that the United Nations estimates that That 12.9 million Afghan children need humanitarian assistance, as the proportion of Afghans under 15 years of age is about 47% of the population.
The report added that Afghanistan has always been ranked as one of the worst countries for the elderly, who are at risk of malnutrition and the effects of extreme cold in this winter, which puts pressure on the available and already few health services, which are also suffering due to high preterm births due to stress and ill health. Maternal health.
The report went on to explain that by next March, it is expected that there will be more than 3 million children suffering from malnutrition, of whom one million are at risk of death, while the head of the World Food Program describes the situation there as the worst humanitarian crisis in the land, according to the report.
What makes the situation even more dangerous is the COVID-19 pandemic; According to the report, only 9.1% of the population had been vaccinated by mid-December, and in some hospitals and provinces there is no intensive care for critical cases, concluding by saying, “The need is great; more than half of Afghanistan’s population does not know where their next meal comes from.”