10M Afghan Kids Need Humanitarian Aid

People get water from a hand pump at a displaced person camp in Mazar-i-Sharif, capital of northern Balkh province, Afghanistan, on July 22, 2021. (Photo by Kawa Basharat/Xinhua/IANS)

Nearly 10 million children in Afghanistan are in desperate need of humanitarian aid, and the Unicef is appealing for about $200 million to respond to their needs, a UN official announced.

The appeal covers a variety of sectors, including water and sanitation, child protection, nutrition, health, and education, Herve De Lys, the Unicef Representative in Afghanistan, told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.

De Lys added that those least responsible for this crisis, are paying the highest price, including the children killed and injured in a series of atrocities in Kabul since August 26, reports Xinhua news agency.

This year alone, more than 550 children have been killed and more than 1,400 others injured, he noted.

“This is clearly a child-protection crisis in a country that is already one of the worst places on earth to be a child.”

Against the backdrop of conflict and insecurity, children are living in communities that are running out of water because of the drought, he said, adding they’re missing life-saving vaccines, including against polio, a disease that can paralyse children for life.

Many are so malnourished they lie in hospital beds too weak to grasp an outstretched finger, said De Lys.

“These children are deprived of their right to a healthy and protected childhood.”

Unicef is concerned about reports that international donors are cutting or pausing aid to the country not just for the agency but for other aid groups as well at this difficult time.

The agency is also concerned about ensuring the safety and security needed to deliver programs nationwide, especially for its female national staff and female social workers, he said.

The Representative urged all partners to support Unicef as it starts implementing its scale-up plan, which includes providing mobile health clinics; vaccinating babies against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases, and vaccinating people against Covid-19; treating children who are severely acutely malnourished; delivering water to areas affected by the drought, and distributing hygiene kits; getting children ready for school, and school ready for children for the new school term next month.

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