The World Health Organization (WHO) warns of famine in Afghanistan.
By the end of the year, the number of children suffering from malnutrition will rise to over three million. A million of them are in mortal danger because of hunger.
“It is an uphill battle, starvation is raging across the country,” said Margaret Harris of WHO in Geneva today. “The world must not and cannot afford to turn its back on Afghanistan.”
Two periods of drought
There have been two periods of drought in the past three years, including one this year. The price of wheat has increased by 28 percent compared to the previous year. The economy in Afghanistan has slipped into a serious crisis, with many health care workers leaving the country because of unpaid wages.
According to Norwegian refugee aid, over 300,000 Afghans have fled to Iran since the Taliban came to power. Currently, 4,000 to 5,000 people are fleeing to the neighboring country every day, the organization announced on Wednesday.
Harris expects more illnesses due to the sub-freezing winter. Hospital departments are already filled with “tiny little children,” Harris said. At the same time, measles is spreading, the WHO now counts around 24,000 cases.
“Measles is a death sentence for malnourished children. We’ll have more deaths if we don’t act quickly, ”said Harris.