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Child pneumonia, malnutrition spikes as Afghan families face impossible choice: eat or heat

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(Last Updated On: November 25, 2022)

As winter sets in across Afghanistan and as the economic crisis worsens, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reports a spike in cases of child pneumonia and malnutrition.

At 33 ICRC-supported hospitals across the country, child malnutrition cases are already 90 percent higher in 2022 compared to all of 2021, rising from 33,000 cases to over 63,000 so far this year. Meanwhile, at an ICRC-supported children’s hospital in Kabul, the number of children under 5 being treated for pneumonia has risen 55 percent in 2022 versus the same period last year.

“The poverty level in Afghanistan has increased compared to past years. Most people cannot buy material to keep their homes and children warm. They also cannot afford to feed their children properly so pneumonia cases are rising, and the number of malnutrition cases linked to pneumonia will rise, too,” said Dr. Abdul Qayum Azeemi, an ICRC doctor who coordinates ICRC’s programme in Kabul’s Indira Ghandhi hospital.

Despite a significant decrease in the intensity of the fighting, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remains alarming. More than half the population (24 million people) need humanitarian assistance and half (20 million people) are acutely food insecure. The deepening economic crisis further impacted by international sanctions and the economic consequences of the Russia-Ukraine international armed conflict makes it impossible for millions of Afghans to make ends meet. Wheat, cooking oil and fertilizer prices have risen. People lost income sources and used up their financial reserves. The agricultural sector has also been impacted by earthquakes, droughts and floods.

“Afghan families face an impossible choice: To eat or to buy heat. And, really, they can’t afford either, resulting in a frightening rise in malnutrition and pneumonia cases,” Martin Schüepp, ICRC’s director of operations, said during his visit to Afghanistan this week. “Aid organizations can’t answer all the overwhelming cries for help. That’s why we’re urging states and development agencies to return to Afghanistan to continue providing support to the millions here in need.”

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US understands importance of Chabahar Port for Afghanistan: India

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2024)

The United States understands the importance of Chabahar Port for continued humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan and to provide the country economic alternatives, India’s foreign ministry said on Friday.

 India recently signed a 10-year agreement to develop and operate Iran’s strategic Chabahar Port as New Delhi aims to boost trade ties with landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, bypassing ports in its western neighbour and arch foe Pakistan.

But the deal has prompted a thinly veiled threat of sanctions from the United States, with whom India has developed close economic and military ties in recent decades.

India’s foreign ministry spokesman, Randhir Jaiswal, noted that since 2018, India has supplied 85,000 metric tons of wheat, 200 metric tons of pulses and 40,000 litres of pesticide Malathion to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port.

“The United States also has an understanding…understands the importance of Chabahar Port for continued humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan and to provide Afghanistan economic alternatives,” he said in a press conference.

“Our External Affairs Minister also spoke on this matter in several forums recently, where he said that we should not take a narrow view of this particular project, it has an important role to play as far as the region is concerned, connectivity is concerned, particularly for the landlocked countries in the area,” he added.

He also said that Russia‘s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, met with an Indian delegation led by Joint Secretary, J.P. Singh, who looks after Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, in the Ministry of External Affairs, essentially exchange of views on the ground and the situation and how the two countries look at the situation.

He said that they emphasized on the need to provide development assistance and humanitarian support to the people of Afghanistan.

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Nicaragua president sends letter of condolence to IEA leader after floods

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2024)

The Afghan Embassy in China announced Saturday that the President of Nicaragua has sent a letter of condolence to the leader of the Islamic Emirate, Mawlawi Hebatullah Akhundzada, following the recent deadly floods in Afghanistan.

Based on the embassy’s statement, the letter was handed over by Michael Campbell, the Nicaraguan ambassador to China, to Bilal Karimi, the Afghan ambassador to China.

In the letter, Nicaragua president, Daniel Ortega, while expressing his sympathy over the floods, expressed his interest in establishing good relations with the Islamic Emirate and cooperation in various fields.

The Nicaraguan ambassador stated that the Nicaraguan people, like the Afghans, achieved independence after a hard struggle against the colonialists, which is a common point between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Bilal Karimi, Afghanistan’s ambassador to China, has said that he will convey the condolence letter of the President of Nicaragua to the leader of the Islamic Emirate. He also assured of maintaining good relations with the country.

Karimi emphasized that all Latin American countries are important, but Nicaragua’s taking the initiative is a positive and admirable move.

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UN Doha meeting should reflect realities of Afghanistan: Iranian envoy

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2024)

Iran’s special representative for Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, said in a meeting with his Italian counterpart that the next UN-convened meeting on Afghanistan should reflect the realities of the country.

Qomi said that Tehran is ready to work with Europe on the development of a comprehensive cooperation plan for Afghanistan based on the consultations it has conducted.

He added that the topics of the third meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan in Doha should be based on the realities of the region and Afghanistan.

“The actions of countries outside the region have not been useful in solving the crisis and challenges of Afghanistan so far, and if this situation continues, Europe will also be plagued by the problems,” he said.

The last meeting of the United Nations on Afghanistan was held in Doha in February this year, but it failed to achieve its primary objectives.

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