Life in Afghanistan on the Brink of Disaster, Official Says

Life in Afghanistan on the Brink of Disaster, Official Says

(RepublicanPress.org) – After 20 years in Afghanistan protecting its people and training forces to defend themselves, President Joe Biden pulled the final US troops out of the country on August 30. Soon after the withdrawal, Afghan fighters fled, and the Taliban took over the region. On December 2, Asia-Pacific regional director for the IFRC, Alexander Matheou spoke to AP News and said the country faces multiple crises that are only getting worse. He noted that drought, economic collapse, and displacement are leading to widespread hunger. With winter right around the corner, the dire situation in the country will likely worsen.

Life with the Taliban

When the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan, it forced many women to stay home from their jobs and blocked most girls over 12 from attending public schools. The once two-income households able to feed their families suddenly found themselves on only one paycheck and unable to nourish themselves.

Although there was a previous problem with poverty and famine in the country, the situation spiraled out of control when the US and allied forces left the nation. The AP News report points out that according to the United Nations, about 60% of the population is going hungry, and 8.7 million residents are near famine.

Adding to the problems, a severe drought continues to plague about 80% of Afghanistan, and so far, over 700,000 people had to leave their homes this year to survive. Many countries around the world previously provided international funding for the nation, but stopped after the Taliban obtained power and the US and others froze Afghan assets. The move tanked the economy, and now many workers are either losing their pay or their jobs entirely.

The economic freeze and fund withdrawal means little to no pay for government workers and healthcare professionals. With the increasing number of children arriving at the hospital needing help with malnutrition and starvation, the situation went from horrible to tragic.

Heading into the Cold Months

Depending on where a person lives in Afghanistan, winters can reach a chilly 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Near freezing conditions added to a crippled economy, severe drought, and starving citizens could mean a catastrophe for Afghan families.

According to AP News, the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies brought about 3,000 tons of food into the country, which should feed about 210,000 people for a couple of months, “but it is not enough.” In addition to food, the organization also gave blankets, heaters, and thermal insulation to families in the region in an attempt to keep them alive this upcoming winter.

Matheou said their efforts need to increase and “meet the needs of millions, not of thousands.” Hopefully, humanitarian generosity will be enough to help those suffering under the Taliban’s thumb.

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