FILE: Afghan female beggars ask for alms as pedestrians walk past in downtown Kabul on October 10, 2012. (Photo credit: MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/GettyImages)

KABUL, Afghanistan – The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has contributed an additional GBP 24 million towards UNICEF’s $2 billion Humanitarian Action for Children appeal for Afghanistan, UNICEF said in a report.

With these funds, UNICEF aims to deliver lifesaving nutrition, water and sanitation, and child protection services to over 1.6 million people affected by the country’s ongoing humanitarian crisis. As estimated, around 1.3 million – 77 per cent – are children.

“We are grateful to the United Kingdom for its continued partnership during this critical time,” said Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan. “These funds will allow us to continue addressing the immediate needs of the most vulnerable girls, boys and women across the country.”

Meanwhile, the funds will enable UNICEF to improve the nutritional status of over 700,000 children, provide safe drinking water and improved hygiene awareness to more than 350,000 people, and increase access to key protection services, including mental health and explosive ordnance risk education support, for over 500,000 people.

A further 18,000 households with pregnant and lactating women will also benefit from humanitarian cash assistance intended to address their nutrition needs and provide an entry point for the provision of case management services to over 3,400 children.

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Addressing the ongoing geopolitical and economic crisis in the country, Ayoya said, “Afghanistan remains one of the toughest places on earth to be a child. Children’s rights are under attack; their childhoods are marred by deprivation.”

“Compounding factors including drought, malnutrition, the spread of preventable disease, the detritus of war, a stagnating economy, and limited and fragile social basic services are exacerbating challenges for children and women,” he added.

This contribution from FCDO follows a GBP 25 million contribution made in 2021 towards UNICEF’s emergency response, the report stated.

What We Know About Afghanistan Economy Since the Takeover

The ongoing political crisis since the takeover last August has “hit hard” private sectors in Afghanistan, where businesses were halted and put to uncertainty, according to a latest survey conducted by the World Bank.

Due to shortage in sells, private companies have laid off more than a half of their employees on average, a rising concern on unemployment rate in the country. 

“The majority of surveyed businesses reported a drastic decline in consumer demand for their products and services and have been forced to scale back operations, reduce investments, and lay off employees,” the report said.  

According to the survey, small enterprises have been hit hardest with about 38 percent of them seizing operation, comparing to a 25 percent among medium and 35 percent among large businesses in the country. 

The finding shows Afghan domestic inputs have become more expensive and yet difficult to obtain due to supplier closure and supply chain disruptions, which all lead to price inflation since the beginning of political uncertainty. 

In August 15, 2021 the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, rolling back the foremost achievements of the post-2001 reconstruction efforts on overall growth of the country.

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