Global pandemic means 4 out of every 10 children in Afghanistan now need some kind of humanitarian support, Save the Children said.
Save the Children in a press release said that COVID-19 is exacting a heavy toll on already struggling families across Afghanistan. An estimated 8.12 million children – or 4 in 10 – will need some form of emergency assistance in 2020.
Earlier this year Save the Children warned that an estimated 5.26 million children in Afghanistan would need help to survive in 2020. Since the global pandemic has wreaked havoc on Afghan public services, access to healthcare, and the economy, all of which are heavily reliant on foreign aid, the number of children needing life-saving support is spiking.
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The latest UN estimates suggest 14 million people in Afghanistan – nearly 40 percent of the population – now need help to survive this year, up from 9.4 million just six months ago – that’s nearly a 50 percent increase since December 2019.
COVID-19 in Afghanistan is having a catastrophic impact on millions of vulnerable families. Preliminary World Bank estimates show that the pandemic and related containment measures are leading to massive disruptions to imports including vital household items, which in turn is leading to rapid inflation. Border closures have also meant a drastic reduction in exports and a sharp decline in remittances.
Large sections of the population depend on casual labour and jobs that are particularly vulnerable to lockdowns and social distancing measures, such as working in markets and selling goods in shops and on the street. Even before COVID-19 emerged, 93 percent of Afghan households survived on less than $2 per day so the vast majority of families have virtually no capacity to absorb the economic shock of COVID-19 and the resulting loss of livelihoods. Meanwhile, the price of staple foods, such as flour, pulses, rice, cooking oil and sugar continue to increase, making it harder and harder for families to feed themselves.