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Afghanistan headed for a humanitarian disaster

Jul 31, 2020 (MENAFN via COMTEX) --

(MENAFN - Pajhwok Afghan News) KABUL wok): Afghanistan is headed for a humanitarian disaster as millions of Afghans are being pushed into poverty by the coronavirus, warns a US watchdog.

In its quarterly report, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said Afghanistan's healthcare system had been overwhelmed by the pandemic.

The Covid-19 outbreak had led to the worsening of food insecurity in the war-devastated country, added July 30 report.

"The economic shock of the pandemic -- including increased unemployment and food-supply disruptions, has exacerbated Afghans' food insecurity ...'

SIGAR reckoned 32.2 million people -- a third of Afghanistan's population -- were either in a crisis or an emergency state of food insecurity.

Prices of wheat flour, cooking oil, sugar, pulses and other essential commodities have steadily spiked in recent months.

"At the same time, the purchasing power of casual labour has dropped significantly," the report noted, according to Radio Free Europe.

The watchdog said: "Experts predict that an additional 8 million people will fall into poverty, pushing the poverty rate from 55 percent to 80 percent."

The real number of coronavirus cases in the country could be higher than officially reported, it believed. Research indicated up to 90 percent of possible cases were not being tested, the reported continued.

"Testing remains limited, but nearly 43 percent of samples test positive, one of the highest rates in the world ," SIGAR maintained.

It admitted Taliban violence had been above "historic norms" for most of the second quarter of this year and the security situation had not improved after the signing of the peace deal between the fighters and the US.

PAN Monitor/mud

MENAFN3107202001740000ID1100573039

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