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Malnutrition on the rise among Afghan children

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KABUL: The number of malnourished children has increased in war-torn Afghanistan with children at clinics, unable to crawl or stand despite their age due to extreme hunger. 

War, hunger, and poverty began to affect children in Afghanistan where international aid was cut off and the economic crisis deepened following the withdrawal of US forces.

Children suffering from malnutrition are deprived of their most basic right to breast milk. 

Unable to reach vital basic foods due to ongoing poverty conditions in Afghanistan, most Afghan mothers have dried up their breast milk in a short time also the lack of food supplements has caused a visible slowdown in the development of infants and children.

Anadolu News Agency met families of suffering children and doctors in the region where 2–3-year-old children in clinics appear much younger like 8 to 10 months-old babies.

Babies cannot crawl, stand on their feet or walk as they appear to be carrying the weight of the country’s 40-year civil war on their backs. 

last October according to a statement by UNICEF, 3.2 million children under the age of five in Afghanistan suffer from malnutrition and at least 1 million are facing the risk of death.

The number of children under follow-up in clinics, which was 2,886 in August, rise to 4,673 in January this year, according to data obtained from Anadolu Agency from the Doctors Worldwide.

During that same period, the number of severe cases rises from 1,438 to 1,938.

Cemaleddin Abbas, a doctor with Doctors Worldwide said, because of malnutrition, mothers cannot properly feed their children.

“Recently, we have observed that the number of patients in the malnutrition clinics has doubled. This shows that the economic situation of the Afghan people is very bad. Most of the mothers who come to the clinics cannot provide their children with breast milk,” said Abbas.

The Taliban regained power in August amid the withdrawal of foreign forces and the collapse of the US-backed government. The interim administration, however, has yet to gain international recognition.

While international funding remains largely suspended, billions of dollars of Afghanistan’s assets abroad mostly in the US are frozen.

Half the population faces acute hunger, more than 9 million people have been displaced and millions of children are out of school, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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