“If things continue this way,” said Anwar Khan, the president of Islamic Relief USA “the question is going to be not if children will die, but how many."
Here are some of the struggles the nation of some 40 million people is facing.
A crisis of the displaced
Tens of thousands of Afghans have fled the country as the Taliban has returned, adding to the 2.6 million Afghan refugees registered around the world. But within the country’s borders, there is also a crisis of homelessness and displacement. Afghanistan has some 3.5 million internally displaced people, or IDPs, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
From Jan. 1 to Aug. 9, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recorded 570,482 conflict-induced IDPs, the majority of which are women and children. The month of July accounted for more than a third of this total, with 206,967 people fleeing their homes as the Taliban offensive gained momentum across the country.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has called on the world to pay closer attention to the humanitarian crisis inside the country.
“As people across the world welcome Afghans into their communities and homes, we cannot forget those who have been left behind,” he said in a statement Monday, calling on the international community to help to fund aid efforts.
A crisis of hunger
More than 14 million people in Afghanistan, or approximately 35 percent of the population, are at risk of going hungry, according to the U.N. World Food Program. The organization attributes this to conflict, environmental disasters such as drought and flooding, and economic hardship. More than half of Afghanistan’s population lives below the poverty line, subsisting on less than approximately $1 per day, according to the World Bank.
Aid groups have stressed a need for continued assistance amid the withdrawal of Western military forces while also hoping for cooperation from the country’s new leaders.
APPROXIMATE AMOUNT OF THE POPULATION IN AFGHANISTAN AT RISK OF GOING HUNGRY
“We’re really worried about a lack food for millions coming up in the wintertime,” Khan said, noting that that is when access to nourishment becomes the most difficult for the population.
On Thursday, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said the group met with WFP Executive Director David Beasley in Doha and assured him of its willingness to cooperate with humanitarian organizations.
A crisis of health care
All the while, the coronavirus continues to spread.
And access to medical supplies for all kinds of care remains uncertain. Amid the chaos at the Kabul airport over the past two weeks, the World Health Organization said about 500 metric tons of medical supplies meant for the country were not able to enter the Afghan capital.
AMOUNT CORONAVIRUS VACCINATIONS IN AFGHANISTAN FELL IN THE DAYS AFTER THE TALIBAN CAME TO POWER
On Monday the organization sent its first shipment of supplies since the Taliban came to power, aboard a plane provided by Pakistan. But operations could still be stalled.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned that with cash hard to come by, hospitals are at risk of running out of the currency they need to buy fuel for generators and ambulances.
Khan noted that the country’s medical infrastructure relies on more than materials. Many of the doctors and experts who had helped care for Afghans in need have left on evacuation flights, he said.
“If they leave, who is going to take over?” he said. “You need the qualified people to do the work.”