Jan 13, 2022 - World

UN agency official warns Afghanistan is facing "tsunami of hunger"

People at a vegetable market in Kabul.
People at a vegetable market in Kabul, Afghanistan, in January. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

Afghanistan faces a "tsunami of hunger," Mary-Ellen McGroarty, a senior official at the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), warned Thursday in an interview with AP.

Driving the news: More than 22 million people in Afghanistan face food shortages and more than 8 million people in Afghanistan are close to starvation, per AP.

The big picture: The Taliban-led government has struggled to get the aid needed to keep the country afloat, as much of the international community froze their aid after last summer's takeover.

  • The lack of aid, along with COVID-19 and a drought, has led to massive inflation and food shortages.

Of note: The U.S. announced on Tuesday it would send an additional $308 million in humanitarian aid to the country, bringing the total sent to the country and Afghan refugees to nearly $782 million since October.

Details: McGroarty explained that Afghanistan needs $4.4 billion and the WFP needs around $2.6 billion to do "the minimum we need to be doing in 2022."

  • This is the first time Afghan farmers have had to wait for humanitarian support, according to McGroarty.

What she's saying: “Can you imagine not being able to feed your young children? And you can also imagine not being able to keep those young children also warm?” McGroarty said. "It’s unimaginable suffering, and the support is required today to avert some of that unimaginable suffering."

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