The United Nations Children's Fund estimates that there may be at least 1 million children in Afghanistan that are at risk of dying due to starvation. The humanitarian organization for children said the millions of others in the country will need immediate aid if they are to survive.
UNICEF executive director, Henrietta Fore, issued the warning Monday at a ministerial-level meeting with the UN to discuss the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. Fore called on the international community, particularly wealthy nations, to do everything they can to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people.
"Nearly 10 million girls and boys depend on humanitarian assistance just to survive. Please help us," Fore said.
The U.S.'s sudden exit from Afghanistan resulted in the swift collapse of its government. This led to Taliban forces taking control of the entire country in a matter of weeks. Since the Taliban took over, humanitarian aid to the country from developed nations has all but ceased amid fears that the funds may be diverted to the militant Islamist regime.
Some western nations have used the frozen humanitarian aid as a leverage point to pressure the Taliban in establishing a government that does not prosecute women and one that respects the rights of all citizens.
UNICEF and other non-profit organizations are actively seeking ways to deliver aid and other support to Afghans without going through the Taliban government.
On Monday, the U.S. pledged to give more than $64 million in humanitarian assistant to Afghan victims. Officials said groups such as UNICEF, WHO, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will be tasked with distributing the funds to the nation's neediest citizens.
Fore said any contribution will go a long way in helping the more than 600,000 people displaced by the Afghanistan civil war. She added that of those that were displaced, more than half are children.
"UNICEF has been on the ground in Afghanistan for more than 70 years. We know what needs to be done for children. And we can get it done," Fore said.
Fore said that despite the exodus of other aid workers, UNICEF has continued its relief efforts in Afghanistan. She said the organization had provided aid to more than 170,000 people affected by the drought last week by deploying mobile health teams in 14 provinces.
"During the last week of August, UNICEF provided 4,000 severely malnourished children under five with life-saving therapeutic treatment," Fore said.