in Herat children die undernourished-

in Herat children die undernourished-
in Herat children die undernourished-
from Lorenzo Cremonesi

The images from the Doctors Without Borders clinic in Herat show children weighing one and a half kilograms, devastated by pneumonia and malnutrition diseases. “Mothers have no milk, one child dies a day”

The faces of the starving babies they look like those of the old. Wrinkled skin, half-closed eyes, little hair on the skull now clearly visible. Once their photos came from African famines. The most recent, however, are those of Afghan children, innocent little victims of the collapse of their country after the withdrawal of the American-led coalition last August and the return of the Taliban regime. Let’s look at those that come to us from the Herat clinic, where the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders operates.

There is little Jawad, born a month and a half ago and hospitalized for nine days already. It weighs only a pound and a half, so weak that pneumonia and septicemia they are devastating it. In the nearby bed is Farzana, 8 months old, weighs just over three kilos, her mother is too malnourished to be able to breastfeed her. The father was a butcher, but a because of the economic crisis, people no longer buy meat, so there is no money to buy powdered milk for the daughter. Not far away is Imran, three years old, another victim of the lack of food. He is suffering from severe neurological dysfunctions, he lacks the energy to walk. “Hunger aggravates any pathology. There are currently 75 small hospitalized patients whose illnesses substantially depend on insufficient nourishment. Mothers have no milk and babies become too weak to be able to suckle. At least one dies a day, “explain the doctors.

It takes place in Herat, where the Italian military contingent was quartered until the end of last June. “The situation is desperate and is getting worse every day,” local collaborators tell us. In fact, however, the whole of Afghanistan has fallen into one very serious economic, health and humanitarian crisis. There is a lack of cash, the banks are closed, salaries are almost no longer paid since August, those who can escape abroad (usually professionals, including doctors, engineers, professors), the population has no money to buy food and fuel to warm up, electricity comes in fits and starts. In a nutshell: collapse.

It is the children, the youngest ones, who pay the price, as is almost always the case in the most serious situations. Helpless victims, who have chosen nothing, do not know what they are the Taliban, the Hazaras, the Pashtuns, the Uzbeks, the Tajiks or foreign soldiers, but they simply remain at the mercy of fate. A recent UN appeal report denounces in alarmed tones that the Afghan scenario is becoming “one of the worst in the world”. Out of a population that probably reaches 35 million (there are no precise censuses), at least 22.8 million are “at risk of malnutrition”. According to the World Food Program: “About 3.2 million children under 5 years of age already suffer from acute malnutrition and one million may soon lose their lives”. By early October, Kabul’s popular markets were already crammed with furniture and household goods that people were selling off to raise money to buy food. Now, however, the humanitarian organization Save the Children denounces the growth of the “children’s market”. There are cases of minors being sold for $ 500. In the past, the trafficking of the innocent enriched the dismal earnings of organ traffickers.

Particularly in demand are the girls, given in brides even before puberty. There Reuters reports the story of a family that sold their two less than 10-year-old daughters for $ 3,000. House parties are another cause for alarm. Especially in rural areas, fuel is also scarce to bring pregnant women to clinics, where medicines and staff are now lacking. A situation destined to increase deaths at the moment of childbirth, both of women and of children. The Taliban government distances itself, calls for an end to the international embargo, access to over 9 billion dollars of state funds closed in American banks and the return of humanitarian aid from abroad. “We work day and night to try to solve problems. The salaries of state employees will soon arrive, ”said Taliban Prime Minister Mohammed Hassan Akhund three days ago. But the impasse remains clear. The international community has not yet found a way to send aid without legitimizing the Taliban and indirectly strengthening their regime. A system must be found soon: children continue to die.

November 28, 2021 (change November 28, 2021 | 23:58)


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