After a visit to Herat, Afghanistan, the UNICEF and World Food Program Representatives to Afghanistan, Hervé Ludovic De Lys and Mary-Ellen McGroarty, respectively, warned that one half of Afghanistan’s children under five years old —an estimated 3.2 million children— are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of the year, and at least a million of them are at risk of dying, should they not get immediate treatment.
The WFP estimates that 95% of households in Afghanistan are not eating enough food, and the two UN agencies are now adding 100 more mobile health and nutrition teams, to the 168 already operating in hard-to-reach areas. UNICEF rep De Lys warned that “the nutritional health of mothers and their children is getting worse by the day…. Children are getting sicker and their families are less and less able to get them the treatment they need. Rapidly spreading outbreaks of measles and acute watery diarrhoea will only exacerbate the situation.”
WFP’s McGroarty reiterated: “Unless we intervene now, malnutrition will only become more severe. The international community must release the funds they pledged weeks ago, or the impact could be irreversible.”