Photo: UNICEF Afghanistan

16 million children in Afghanistan in need of aid and protection, UNICEF says

Fran Equiza, the UNICEF representative in Afghanistan, said that almost 16 million children are in need of protection and humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.

In a video released by UNICEF Afghanistan on Thursday, Equiza addressed a group of children in central Daykundi province, emphasizing the need for humanitarian aid for these children.

He said that children in Afghanistan are given responsibilities that are too great for their age, in a country where children’s rights are eroded every day.

Equiza also noted the space that UNICEF has created for children in Daykundi province, saying, “This space provides children with a respite, a safe and secure space where they can rest, relax, play, and make friends.”

“Our caregivers make sure that these girls learn how to read, write, and count. They recite poetry, sing songs, paint, and make handicrafts,” added the UNICEF representative in Afghanistan.

Equiza acknowledged the vital support from the European Union (EU), and expressed gratitude to EU citizens and institutions for their financial contributions, which have made it possible to create these spaces.

“From the bottom of my heart, to every citizen of the EU, to every institution, thank you so much, because your funding helped us create this space. A space where children can continue to laugh and learn,” said Equiza.

The UNICEF representative in Afghanistan had previously warned that nearly 90% of Afghanistan’s population is on the brink of poverty, and that children are bearing the brunt of it. He further revealed that an estimated 2.3 million children in Afghanistan will face acute malnutrition this year alone.

In a press conference in New York in May, Equiza called on the international community to increase its support, revealing that UNICEF currently only has 22% of the funds it needs for 2023.