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CBSN: Afghanistan Battles Worsening Humanitarian Crisis as 97 Percent of Country Could Plunge Below Poverty Line

‘23 million people were facing food insecurity’
By Grabien Staff

EXCERPT:

SABERI: "Lana, the IRC says it's never seen such severe levels of hunger in Afghanistan and it’s like to get much worse. The aid organization says that by late last year, nearly 23 million people there were facing crisis or worse levels of food insecurity, that's more than half the population. And as you mentioned, the U.N. predicts that by the middle of this year, 97% of the population could plunge below the poverty line. Several aid organizations have been calling for more donations to address this growing crisis. For the past two decades, the country has relied heavily on foreign funding to function, but after the Taliban took over last August, many countries, including the U.S., suspended or cut most or all of their funding and froze billions of dollars’ worth of assets. Without this support, many health clinics have closed, and Afghans have been running out of money as the cost of food and other basic goods has skyrocketed. Not only that, but the country is also suffering from a severe drought, a harsh winter and COVID-19. Under pressure to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, the Biden administration took steps last month to let more aid into the country. It's allowing aid groups exemptions from the tough economic sanctions on the Taliban. Some activists, including the head of the International Rescue Committee has said this step doesn’t go far enough, but critics, including some Republicans, say the Biden administration risks legitimizing and empowering the Taliban. U.S. humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and refugees in the region totaled around $475 million as of October last year, but there's still an enormous need for more help."

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