Kabul, 10 January 2022 (TDI): The Chief of the UN World Food Program (WFP), David Beasley launched a special plea for Afghanistan. According to the note, Afghan babies weigh less than four pounds when they arrive in the neonatal intensive-care unit.

Pregnant women are increasingly malnourished throughout the country; and because of that, their bodies are unable to carry their babies until full term.

Because the babies do not fulfill the proper term, they arrive in the world earlier than expected carrying additional health problems. After they are born, and due to food insecurity, the new mothers have a meagre diet that doesn’t allow them to breastfeed.

STATEMENTS OF JABAD 

A pediatrician named Abdul Jabad stated that many babies are premature and that some survive but others don’t. In his hospital, 3 newborns occupy a bed that is meant for one, and because of that many contract infections.

He then added that one time that he visited the UCI, some of the beds were dirty, and the exhausted mothers were right beside their babies. Approximately a month after the withdrawal of US and allied troops, only 17% of the 230 health clinics were functioning.

Many members of the medical staff have not received their salaries since the Taliban takeover in August. The medical supplies are running low also, and the population struggles to feed themselves.

Furthermore, currently around half of the population needs urgent humanitarian assistance to survive. On the other side, out of the total population, around 20 million or even more are on the brink of famine.

PROJECTIONS OF THE UNDP FOR AFGHANISTAN

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) predicted that by the middle of 2022, Afghanistan’s poverty could increase exponentially. According to the UNDP, that prediction told that Afghanistan could face universal poverty; as 97% of Afghans are or would be living below the World Bank-designated international poverty line of $1.90 a day.

US SUCCESSES AND FAILURES DURING 20 YEARS, AND THE CURRENT DANGERS

The United States had an important influence in Afghanistan since the intervention in 2001 until they withdrew to follow the Doha Accords. Those Accords would have guaranteed the survival of the democratic regime if they were followed properly, but that didn’t happen.

During the two decades that the US was in Afghanistan, the US representatives and the Afghan government failed to build a self-sustaining economy. That is one of the reasons why Afghanistan is facing a financial free fall. Furthermore, that free fall carries several consequences, like unpaid workers, hungry families, and scarce supplies.

The achievements in other areas achieved during the two decades are also collapsing, like health care and education. Those achievements included the lift of the heavy restrictions on women’s rights like their access to education and work.

WFP STATEMENTS 

David Beasley, the head of the UN’s World Food Program, stated that the job that the international community carried out in Afghanistan was a disaster. According to Beasley, that is because 75% of the economy depended solely on outside funding.

That situation was coupled with the allowed corruption year to year. He also made a call to the Biden Administration to release Afghan financial assets frozen since the Taliban takeover.

Heavy snow blankets the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Afghan)
Heavy snow blankets the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank also stopped sending funds to the country after the takeover. He stated that with that money, the marketplace can restore liquidity; and the economy will start to recover.

Beasley from the WFP recently visited Afghanistan and went to the warehouse where the workers unloaded sacks of wheat flour provided by the WFP. He then warned that without those assets instead of having to feed 23 million people per month; it would be necessary to feed 35 million people. According to him, that would mean the total collapse of Afghanistan.

It is also mentioned that in December, the Treasury Department facilitated the UN, NGO’s and individuals to send money and supplies to Afghanistan. Some months later, the Government sent an additional hundred and forty-four million dollars in aid.

Appeal of UNICEF to protect Afghan children
The appeal of UNICEF to protect Afghan children

The UN launched its biggest appeal to avert famine in Afghanistan. Furthermore, the Taliban officials are allowing UN agencies to work with full access to assist for the first time in twenty years.

EVACUATIONS AND WFP ACTIONS IN AFGHANISTAN

Sixty thousand Afghan interpreters and others who worked alongside U.S. forces needed evacuation from the country. Those that were left behind during the US withdrawal also needed evacuation from Afghanistan so several countries organized evacuations.

The rate of evacuations is rather slow so many predict that it will take years to safely evacuate those that are eligible for it. The WFP opened multiple food-distribution centers across the country for the civilians.

Each family received rations designed to last for two months, which included two hundred and twenty pounds of wheat flour. The packages also included ten quarts of cooking oil and seventeen kilograms of soybeans.

AFGHANISTAN’S ACTING FINANCE MINISTER

Khalid Payenda served as Acting Finance Minister before the Taliban takeover; he admitted that corruption within the Afghan Government helped to foster the economic crisis. He then added that until the end, people thought that the US was not going to leave Afghanistan, so they postponed the necessary reforms for years.

DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS AND RED CROSS

Many Afghans expressed their disappointment towards the US because by freezing those assets the US is incurring human rights violations. Doctors Without Borders, at Herat Regional Hospital, operate the only functioning inpatient therapeutic feeding center; and the conditions are the same as in Kabul.

World Food Program: Women wait for their children to be screened for malnutrition at a clinic in Balkh Province, Afghanistan.
World Food Program: Women wait for their children to be screened for malnutrition at a clinic in Balkh Province, Afghanistan.

The Red Cross Prosthetics Clinic remains operating as well. One former Taliban fighter that lost his leg when he triggered accidentally a grenade, was one of the patients of the Clinic.

He stated that people in his situation and the public cant pay for their treatment, and then thanked the Red Cross for their facilities and their actions. The manager of the Red Cross, Alberto Cairo expressed his concern for the citizens with the arrival of the winter, and the growing famine if the international community does not take the necessary decisions.