Afghanistan: Children are paying highest price – Press Conference (15 October 2021)

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United Nations published this video item, entitled “Afghanistan: Children are paying highest price – Press Conference (15 October 2021)” – below is their description.

Upon his return from Afghanistan, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Omar Abdi today (15 Oct) told journalists in New York that the country’s children, “those least responsible” for the current crisis “are paying the highest price.”

Abdi noted that, “even before the Taliban takeover, at least 10 million children across the country were in need of humanitarian assistance to survive. And at least one million of these children are at risk of dying due to severe acute malnutrition if they are not treated immediately.”

He said, “the situation is critical, and it will only get worse” over the coming months “amidst the severe drought and consequent water scarcity, an uncertain security environment, continued displacement, the devastating socioeconomic consequences of COVID-19 pandemic, and the onset of winter.”

Abdi said, “We need help to keep schools open and increase enrolment, to sustain the health system, to reach malnourished children, to provide cash to suffering families.”

He urged donors “to maintain their humanitarian and development investments in Afghanistan so that the hard-fought gains over the past decades are not lost” and pointed out that UNICEF has put in place “mechanisms that facilitate us to implement directly without going through government systems.”

The UNICEF official explained that girls up to grade six can currently go to school, while in only five provinces they girls can attend secondary school. He said, “we are asking that girls everywhere go to school. The de-facto minister of education told us that they are working on a framework which they will announce soon, that will allow all girls to go to secondary school. And we are expecting that to happen very soon. So, we are urging them not to wait.”

He added, “any day that we waste is a day lost. For those girls that are out of school.”

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