Afghan families making horrific choices so they can put food on the table

Statement by Marianne O’Grady, CARE Afghanistan Deputy Country Director

“What’s it like in Afghanistan for millions of people right now? This is what it’s like. They go to bed hungry. They wake up hungry. Everyone in the house wakes up hungry. There’s less and less to feed them. The winter is setting in.  Growing food is impossible. Buying food is getting harder, as prices have skyrocketed. Livelihoods have disappeared.

"Almost 23 million people - more than half the population of Afghanistan - are facing acute hunger this winter. That’s the equivalent of almost every single person in Australia being hungry almost all the time. It is hard to wrap your head around.

"Look down your street right now. Imagine that the members of every second household are facing chronic hunger. It’s not a case of, 'It’s dinner time, I’m hungry,' it’s 'I haven’t eaten for days, I’m hungry.' Most of us simply cannot fathom what that is like.

"Imagine a pain deep inside that simply does not go away. Bodies lacking the very thing they need to survive. Many parents in Afghanistan are being forced to make the most horrific choices to keep their family members alive, and it’s usually the girls who suffer the consequences. We have seen the reports of baby girls being sold so families have money to buy food. Young girls are being married off so there is one less mouth to feed.

"As an international community, we simply cannot stand back and watch this happen. We must act like lives depend on it, because they do. World leaders must urgently find solutions to allow humanitarians in Afghanistan to operate. Without access to cash, we can simply not respond at the scale required."


About CARE

Founded in 1945, CARE is one of the largest and oldest humanitarian aid organisations fighting global poverty. CARE has a special focus on empowering and meeting the needs of women and girls and promoting gender equality and works in 100 countries around the world. 

CARE has a long history in Afghanistan, establishing its first mission there in 1961.  

CARE’s programs in Afghanistan focus on women’s social and economic empowerment, education, rural development and emergency response.  

For media enquiries contact:

Suzy Sainovski (based in Melbourne, Australia)
Asia Pacific Regional Communications & Media Advisor, CARE International

Skype: suzy.sainovski