The impact of drought, conflict, the coronavirus pandemic and the on-going economic crisis have combined to severely affect people’s access to food, said a statement issued jointly by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday.
The situation was set to deteriorate as winter approaches, the statement added.
One in two Afghans could face acute hunger between November and March, the report predicted, adding that this was the highest rate ever recorded in the 10 years the UN has conducted food insecurity analyses in the country.
WFP executive director David Beasley said that the situation in Afghanistan is now among the world’s worst humanitarian crises and that millions of Afghans will be forced to choose between migration and starvation this winter.
“We are on a countdown to catastrophe if we don’t act now,” Beasley warned. “Hunger is rising and children are dying. We can’t feed people on promises.”
Children are particularly at risk of starvation and malnutrition since an economic and political crisis began in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover in August, with many families losing their main sources of income.
On Sunday, a local religious scholar reported that eight children had starved to death in the western part of Kabul. The children were reportedly members of the same family who had recently lost their parents to illness.
Exiled Hazara politician Mohammad Mohaqiq on Sunday criticized the Taliban and called on the international community to send more aid to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.