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PACF warns of looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: “Millions of Afghan internally displaced people (IDPs) are at the risk of a serious humanitarian crisis, if the international community and regional countries did not timely provide essential health and food assistance to the war-torn nation”.

This was stated by Habibullah Khan Khattak, chairman Pak-Afghan Cooperation Forum (PACF), while speaking at a press conference along with other senior members of the forum.

He said that the global community must separate humanitarian assistance from diplomatic issues, saying humanitarian needs are more critical than diplomatic relations and the world must come forward in helping the Afghan people.

He said that people in Afghanistan are facing very serious challenges for their survival following sudden withdrawal of international aid agencies as a result of Afghan Taliban takeover of the country on August 15, 2021.

At present, around two million IDPs are settled around the Afghan capital Kabul who have left behind everything.

As result of the sudden collapse of the Afghan government, there are serious food crisis erupting not only in big cities like Kabul where millions of people have thronged from other parts of the country fearing, after the dissolution of the Ashraf Ghani government, warlords may disrupt peace.

Moreover, the country is also facing serious drought-like situation and people failed to produce staple food items.

Health situation is becoming more alarming and with the arrival of winter, it will worsen, if necessary medicines, medical professionals, and other required staff was not sent to the country in a state of war since 1979.

Half of Afghanistan’s children under five expected to suffer from acute malnutrition as hunger takes root for millions.

Most of the doctors and nurses working in Afghanistan with former Afghan government and international organisations following the Taliban takeover of the country have fled away from the country, now there is a serious shortage of health professionals.

Keeping in view the winter situation, the regional countries must send their medical teams along with drug supplies to help the Afghans.

Sharing the World Food Programme (WFP) findings, Khattak said that dire state of malnutrition and food insecurity was sweeping across the country.

Without reliable access to water, food and basic health and nutrition services, Afghan children and their families are bearing the brunt of years of conflict and the current economic crisis, he said.

According to the WFP, 14 million people in Afghanistan are facing acute food insecurity, and an estimated 3.2 million children under the age of five were expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of the year.

At least, one million of these children are at risk of dying due to severe acute malnutrition without immediate treatment.

Khattak, while urging the Pakistanis to donate food, medicines, warm clothes and necessary items said that the PACF so far has distributed 1,108 tons of food items among the Afghans through the Taliban government.

He said moreover, a C-130 plane also lifted food items and medicines to Afghanistan, which include flour, rice, cooking oil and pulses.

He urged the government of Pakistan to help Afghan government in establishing health, education and agriculture-related institutions, so that the reliance of the Afghan people on staple food items on other countries could come to an end.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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