Afghanistan: An Additional 1.5 Million Children Need Help to Survive in 2020, Warns Save the Children

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Feb. 19, 2020)—  The number of children in Afghanistan who will need humanitarian assistance in 2020 has jumped by 40 percent compared to last year, warns Save the Children, meaning an extra 1.5 million children need support to survive.

In 2020, an additional 3.1 million people will need help, more than half of whom are children. That takes the total number of children who need some form of humanitarian support to 5.26 million, making Afghanistan one of the worst places in the world to be a child.

Moreover, girls and boys experience conflict differently. In this year’s ‘Stop The War On Children’ report, which launched last week, Save the Children found that girls in conflict-affected areas are at far higher risk of sexual and other forms of gender-based violence, such as child, early and forced marriage. In all verified cases of sexual violence against children in conflict, girls are the victims nine times out of ten. Boys are much more likely to be exposed to killing and maiming, abductions and recruitment into armed groups. 

Security across Afghanistan has deteriorated over the past two years, with record numbers of children killed and maimed. According to the UN, children made up an astonishing 77 percent of civilian casualties from explosive weapons in the first nine months of 2019. This daily deadly risk has a profound impact on the mental health of children, as they witness acts of extreme violence and face traumatic and life-changing injuries. Today in Afghanistan, one in ten people live with a physical disability. 

A recent analysis by Save the Children found that two-thirds of parents surveyed in parts of Afghanistan said their children are scared of explosions, kidnappings, or other forms of extreme violence on their journeys to school, revealing the extent to which children are living in constant fear for their lives and lack support to help overcome their distressing experiences.

“Afghnistan remains largely forgotten in the shadow of other global emergencies after more than 18 years of conflict, tens of thousands of civilian deaths and multiple failed peace efforts,” said Onno van Manen, Afghanistan Country Director for Save the Children.

“This is a country where all children who were born and raised here have known nothing but war, where they are scared to go to school and where they risk abuse and exploitation. Afghan children lack access to basic healthcare and quality education, not to mention the professional support they need to help them cope with all they have endured,” van Manen continued.

“Save the Children is stepping up its activities throughout Afghanistan in recognition of the dire situation children are facing. They have a right to safety, security and well-being under international law, yet these fundamental rights are regularly threatened. We must give Afghan children a future free from violence and fear.”

In 2019, Save the Children reached over four million individuals in Afghanistan, including over 900,000 children, through programs in education, health, nutrition, food security, child rights and child protection.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.

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