Afghanistan on ‘countdown to disaster’ without emergency humanitarian aid
The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report co-led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP), found that life, means of livelihoods and access to food of 22.8 million people will be severely affected.
“We urgently need to act effectively and efficiently to speed up and scale up our deliveries to Afghanistan before winter cuts through much of the country, with millions of people – including farmers, women, young children. and the elderly – who suffer from hunger in the freezing winter, ”said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “Its a question of life or death”.
The IPC report found that more than one in two Afghans will face levels of phase 3 crisis or phase 4 emergency of acute food insecurity from November to March, requiring an urgent international response to avoid a humanitarian disaster.
“We cannot wait and see humanitarian disasters unfold before us – this is unacceptable,” he added.
Promises won’t feed people
This is the highest number of acutely food insecure people ever recorded by the UN in 10 years of IPC analysis in Afghanistan.
And globally, the country is home to one of the largest numbers of people facing acute hunger.
“Hunger is increasing and children are dying,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “We cannot feed people with promises – funding commitments must turn into hard cash, and the international community must unite to face this crisis, which is quickly spiraling out of control.”
The report found a 37% increase in the number of Afghans facing acute hunger since its last assessment in April.
Those at risk include 3.2 million children under the age of five, who are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of the year.
Last month, WFP and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that without immediate life-saving treatment, one million children were at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition.
And for the first time, city dwellers are experiencing food insecurity at rates similar to those in rural communities.
Meanwhile, rampant unemployment and a liquidity crunch are putting all major urban centers at risk of falling into a phase 4 emergency level of food insecurity, including former middle-class populations.
In rural areas, the severe impact of a second drought in four years continues to affect the livelihoods of 7.3 million people who depend on agriculture and herding for survival.
“Afghanistan is now among the worst humanitarian crises in the world – if not the worst – and food security has all but collapsed,” said the WFP chief. “This winter, millions of Afghans will be forced to choose between migration and starvation unless we can step up our life-saving aid and unless the economy can be revived.”
Total disaster at stake
With another La Niña event on the horizon, threatening to prolong this year’s drought until 2022, immediate financial support has become crucial to meet most basic humanitarian needs as Afghans face a winter without jobs, without money or prospects.
To meet growing needs, the UN will need to mobilize resources at unprecedented levels, but the UN humanitarian response plan remains only one-third funded.
“We are on a countdown to disaster and if we do not act now, we will have total disaster on our hands,” the senior WFP official stressed.