Afghanistan's children have endured decades of conflict and suffering. Two years since the Taliban regained control in Afghanistan, conditions for children and their families are even more catastrophic.
A perfect storm of climate disasters, a severe economic crisis and the collapse of essential services have led to one of the worst food crises ever recorded. Now, an earthquake in Herat in Western Afghanistan presents a crisis on top of a crisis. This devastating earthquake comes as the country is already facing an unprecedented hunger crisis. 1 in 3 people are facing extreme hunger and 41% of children under 5 are currently facing acute malnutrition.
Almost 30 million people need humanitarian assistance this year. It’s a humanitarian catastrophe.
Families are taking desperate measures to survive. Parents are withdrawing their children from school and sending them to work. In some extreme cases, children are being sold to cover debts or to buy food for other children in the family. It’s a heart-breaking dilemma for parents but they are left with little choice.
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1-year-old Shayesta* lives with her mother Zahida*, her father Khalid*, and her eight siblings in a rural village in northern Afghanistan.
Life is extremely difficult for the family. Zahida and Khalid often struggle to feed their children. There are no jobs in their village, so Khalid travels to the closest city to find employment, but it is often unreliable. Most days the family survive on tea and bread alone.
“Our biggest problem in life is a lack of food, water and bread. If there is no bread, people will die of hunger. If there is no water, on these hot summer days, people will die from thirst. All people rush to wells for water - they even fight over the water.” said Khalil*
Afghanistan is experiencing the worst drought it has seen for 30 years which has caused crops to fail, livestock to die and put food and water further out of reach for children and their families.
The Save the Children Mobile Health Team visit the family’s village once a week, providing primary, newborn and maternal healthcare, nutrition and mental health services. Thanks to these doctors, Shayesta is now being treated for malnutrition.
We have been working in Afghanistan since 1976 to deliver life-saving services to children and their families.
Since August 2021, Save the Children has been scaling up its response in Afghanistan to support the increasing number of children in need.
We’re delivering health, nutrition, education, child protection, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene and food security, and livelihood support.
Save the Children’s Emergency Fund has allowed Save the Children to continue providing life-saving healthcare for children and their families when they need it most.