World Vision restarts life-saving work in Afghanistan as millions face starvation

09 Sep 2021 by Linda Shackelford, Media Advisor
World Vision restarts life-saving work in Afghanistan as millions face starvation

World Vision has restarted its life-saving programmes in Afghanistan, providing urgently needed food and nutrition support to children and their families as the country faces widespread starvation.

The international humanitarian agency, which has been working in Afghanistan for more than 20 years, is set to reach over 200,000 with emergency food and health and nutrition assistance in the coming weeks. Almost half of all children in Afghanistan are currently at risk of acute malnutrition.

World Vision New Zealand National Director Grant Bayldon says World Vision is working to get aid to children and families in need right now.

“Afghanistan is in the grip of a hunger crisis that has pushed millions of people to the edge of starvation. We are doing all we can to prevent an even greater humanitarian disaster and to support the children of Afghanistan, their families and communities over the coming weeks and months,” says Bayldon.

World Vision is calling on New Zealanders to support their life-saving work so that they can reach more children in need. They hope to reach a million people within the coming months as their programmes continue and scale up.

“We know many New Zealanders are wondering what they can do to help – by donating to World Vision they can help vulnerable children in Afghanistan and other dangerous places around the world at this difficult time.”

The UN reported that almost half of the population of Afghanistan, 18.4 million people, needed humanitarian assistance at the beginning of 2021.

World Vision Afghanistan National Director, Asuntha Charles, who is on the ground, says this number continues to grow at a rapid rate, and that World Vision is committed to providing emergency assistance and development opportunities for those in need.

“Millions of children and their families in Afghanistan already face extreme poverty and vulnerability. Their needs are increasing by the day, and we are committed to continuing to deliver life-saving support to those in desperate need. Donations received at this time will help ensure that Afghan children who are at risk of starvation and in need of protection, receive the basic necessities to help them survive,” says Charles.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark, who spent time in Afghanistan with World Vision in 2019, is also calling on New Zealanders to support the organisation’s response.

“The people of Afghanistan are facing a humanitarian catastrophe and urgently need the help of organisations like World Vision,” says Clark.

“When I was there two years ago, I visited health clinics where children were being treated for acute malnutrition. Many of them came from families that had been displaced by conflict, drought, or both. In my time at the United Nations Development Programme I had never seen children so unwell – some 41 percent of children under the age of five in Afghanistan have had their growth stunted due to lack of food. That figure is now surely only set to rise.”

World Vision warns that the people of Afghanistan are facing a triple threat - as well as ongoing conflict, the country is experiencing the impact of Covid-19, and widespread drought and flash flooding as a result of climate change – all creating a humanitarian catastrophe of displacement, the threat of mass child starvation and the destruction of livelihoods.

“Now is the time for us to do everything we can to prevent an unprecedented humanitarian disaster. We are incredibly grateful to Kiwis for their generous support as we do everything we can for the children of Afghanistan, their families and communities now, and in the future,” adds Bayldon.

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