Last month, the World Food Program representative in Afghanistan, Mary Ellen McGarraty, warned that the Afghan economy would collapse within a few weeks, if not enough aid was sent to prevent this from happening.
McGarraty considered in press statements that “the deterioration of the situation in the country is due to many reasons, including the decades-long conflict and the increase in the number of displaced people in recent months due to the fighting for more than half a million people, not to mention climate change and its effects, including severe drought for the second time in less than four years.” These are the driest years in Afghanistan in the last thirty years, as well as the Corona pandemic, the freezing of Afghan funds and the deterioration of the value of the local currency.
In addition, according to the UN official, people in those poor countries are unable to “withdraw most of their savings, high unemployment, and unprecedented high food and fuel prices.”
McGarraty noted that the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was difficult, even before the recent developments and the Taliban’s seizure of power about four months ago, when more than 18 million Afghans were in need of humanitarian assistance. She stressed that nearly 14 million Afghans suffer from food insecurity, and that nearly two million children are at risk of malnutrition.
And she warned of a further deterioration of the economic situation, and said that people are forced to sell their household necessities to buy food, and they do not eat food daily, and they have reduced the percentage and quality of the meals they eat.
An estimated 22.8 million people (more than half the population) are expected to face life-threatening levels of food insecurity, according to an analysis by the United Nations World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Among those poor Afghans, 8.7 million are on the cusp of a dangerous cycle of famine, the worst phase of the food crisis.
To exacerbate Afghanistan’s economic problems, the country is facing one of the worst droughts in decades, which has left fields withering, large herds of domestic animals dead, and irrigation canals drying up for agricultural land.
According to the United Nations, the wheat crop in Afghanistan is expected to be 25 percent lower than the average in rural areas this year, where nearly 70 percent of the population lives.
With the advent of harsh winter weather, and thousands of farmers abandoning their lands, there are serious fears that more than a million children will die.
In this regard, a 40-year-old Afghan woman named Lalac said: “I am afraid this winter will be worse than we can imagine.”
Lalac, who took refuge in a clinic in a modest mud house run by the Red Crescent Society, to save her very emaciated granddaughter from death: “My family did not have any handful of wheat, nor firewood for heating or money to buy food, we used to financially use some of our relatives, but they also became unable to To fill the eyes of their children.
“Nothing, we have nothing,” she concluded in a desperate tone, reflecting the condition of most of the people of Shah Wali Kot, an arid region of Kandahar province, where drought and economic collapse have brutally allied against those starving destitute.
Has faced a greater number of Afghans by 30 percent of food shortages in September and October compared to the same period last year, in conjunction to rise up to that proportion to numbers frightening and large in the coming days.
At the same modest clinic where Lalac went, Zermina, 20, cuddles her 18-month-old son while her emaciated 3-year-old daughter stands behind her, clutching her blue burqa, starving.
Zermina says that her young family has spent the last months eating dry bread and tea most of the time, after her day laborer husband lost their only source of livelihood.
And this young woman, who is six months pregnant, continues: “My children cry every day because of hunger and I suffer from severe anemia, and I wish I could do something to fill my children’s empty stomachs, but there is no trick.”