“I call on the entire international community to come together to help us alleviate the suffering of children, women and families in Afghanistan. Together we can build healthier and more hopeful lives, but we need urgent help,” said Fran Equiza, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Afghanistan Representative Fran Equiza met with journalists at the UN building in New York.
Pointing out that approximately 16 million girls and boys in Afghanistan cannot receive aid, Equiza said, “These are children like my children and your children. They wake up hungry and go to bed hungry, they have no water to quench their thirst, no blankets to cover them when they are cold.”
Children work in homes, on the streets and even in minefields, living in fear of violence and deprived of “hope for a better life,” Equiza said.
Emphasizing that many people forget that Afghanistan is facing a “children’s crisis”, Equiza said, “Today, 90 percent of Afghans are on the poverty line. Children bear the brunt of this. 2.3 million children are expected to face acute food insecurity this year. 175 thousand children will need treatment for acute food shortage in 2023.”
Equiza explained that according to the data, 134 children were injured by explosives between January and March this year, and some of them lost their lives.
“There are 16 million child laborers”
Stating that children are sent to work out of necessity, children who collect metal parts are injured or killed in clashes, Equiza said that there are 16 million “child laborers” in Afghanistan.
Equiza also reported that only 22 percent of UNICEF’s appeal for aid for children was funded and said, “This means that we will not be able to provide the necessary assistance to the children we need to support. I call on the entire international community to come together to help us alleviate the suffering of children, women and families in Afghanistan. Together we can build healthier and more hopeful lives, but we need urgent help.”
Emphasizing that UNICEF’s aid is in no way transferred to the Taliban administration, Equiza said that they could not find many donors due to the political situation in the country.
“I will do my best to ensure that not a single child dies from lack of food,” Equiza said.