World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Afghan Children ‘At Greater Risk Than Ever’, Top UNICEF Official Warns

With the needs of Afghan children greater than ever before, the world “cannot abandon them now”, a senior official with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) appealed on Sunday after concluding a visit to the country.

George Laryea-Adjei, Regional Director for UNICEF South Asia, said children have paid the heaviest price in recent weeks of increased conflict and insecurity.

Not only have some been forced from their homes, and cut off from their schools and friends, they have also been deprived of basic healthcare that can protect them against polio, tetanus and other diseases.

“Now, with a security crisis, skyrocketing food prices, a severe drought, the spread of COVID-19, and another harsh winter just around the corner, children are at greater risk than ever,” he warned.

Malnutrition threat looms

UNICEF has predicted that if the current trend continues, one million under-fives in Afghanistan will face severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening condition.

Mr. Laryea-Adjei said more than four million children, including 2.2 million girls, are out of school.

Around 300,000 youngsters have been forced to flee their homes, some of whom were in bed sleeping, “and too many of them have witnessed scenes that no child should ever see”, he said.

“Children and adolescents are struggling with anxieties and fears, in desperate need of mental health support,” he added.

Step up support

With some humanitarian partners considering cutting aid to Afghanistan, Mr. Laryea-Adjei voiced concern over having enough resources to keep health centres up and running, schools open, and services available to treat severely malnourished children.

UNICEF, which has been in Afghanistan for more than six decades, continues to maintain a field presence across the country, and is engaging with interlocutors to scale up response.

The agency is currently supporting mobile health and nutrition teams at camps for displaced people, and setting up child-friendly spaces, nutrition hubs and vaccination sites, while also prepositioning additional lifesaving supplies and supporting thousands of students in community-based education classes.

However, Mr. Laryea-Adjei stressed that more resources are direly needed. UNICEF recently launched a $192 million appeal to address the escalating humanitarian crisis, and urged donors to step up support.

“Young people and children have been telling us they are in desperate need of the most basic items and services – needs which, given support, the humanitarian community can easily respond to,” he said.

“The needs of the children of Afghanistan have never been greater. We cannot abandon them now.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


UN: UNHCR Chief Urges Better Support For 13 Million 'Exhausted' And Displaced Syrians
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has urged greater international support for the more than 13 million Syrians who’ve been displaced in the past 10 years...More>>


>UN: Recent Kosovo-Serbia Tensions Could ‘Unravel Steady But Fragile Progress’

Tensions over vehicle licence plates and anti-smuggling operations, between authorities in Kosovo and Serbia, in recent weeks, may contribute to unravelling “steady but fragile progress made in rebuilding trust among communities” in Kosovo and Serbia...
More>>

ITUC: Nobel Prize In Economics Explodes Minimum Wage And Jobs Myth

The prize was awarded to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for real-world research in the 1990s that demonstrated, empirically, that the idea touted by conservative economists that higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs is not based on fact... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs


UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>


COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>


UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>