Situation for children in Afghanistan is 'dire' with violence and bloodshed a 'daily occurrence', UN children's agency (UNICEF) warned.

Iran PressAsia: UNICEF Chief of Communication in Afghanistan said in a report, this year, 2018, has been especially challenging: a spike in violence, unprecedented levels of drought and food insecurity, increased poverty and fledgeling social service systems are taking a disproportionate toll on children. 

Alison Parker added, 2019 will mark 40 years of conflict in Afghanistan – four decades that have left a terrible impact on the country’s children, Reuters reported.

Parker also said, today, some 6 million people need humanitarian assistance, over half of whom are children.

Over 3 million children are out of school 60 per cent of whom are girls. Severe acute malnutrition among children is among the highest globally with about half a million children affected, Parker added.

"And it is getting worse. Children are paying the price in terms of the impact on their education, health, mental and physical well-being, their lives and future," Parker said.

Parker also said, some 5,000 children have been killed or maimed within the first three quarters of 2018, equal to all of 2017. Additionally, increasing insecurity and a significant rise in school attacks puts almost two decades of progress at risk for Afghan children. 181 schools were attacked between January and September 2018, more than double the 82 schools attacked during the same period in 2017. Over 1,200 schools are closed due to insecurity, meaning close to 600,000 students have been deprived of their rights to education.

Related News:

Report: Tens of thousands killed in Afghanistan since 2009

Over 60000 people in Afghanistan has been killed or injured in violence since 2009, when UN officials started documenting the casualties.

She added, the situation is exacerbated by what has been described as the worst drought in decades with some 2 million people affected, over half of whom are children.

Parker also said, the drought has exacerbated the practice of child marriage affecting at least 161 children (155 girls & 6 boys) from drought-affected population in Badghis and Herat provinces. The key drivers of child marriage are the loss of assets and livestock, resulting in even heavier family debts.

She added, some families have been forced to make a tough choice between subjecting the entire family to starvation or giving up one or more children into marriage and/or servitude to the creditors. Furthermore, the number of children suffering severe acute malnutrition levels is expected to hit the 600,000 mark by the end of the year and over 100, 000 school-aged children have been affected by the drought.

Parker also said, the situation for children is dire and the needs are huge. Right now, $US 9 million is urgently needed meet live-saving interventions especially water, education and child protection. As leaders converge in Geneva for the Conference on Afghanistan we once again make an urgent plea for an end to violence. 

UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict to adhere to and respect humanitarian principles, ensure the safety and protection of all children and guarantee their access to quality basic services. 101/202


Read More:

Several dead amid election violence in Afghanistan

Dozens killed in bomb attack in Afghanistan