That’s what Sydney Morning Herald/The Age journalists Kate Geraghty and Jacob Saulwick wrote after visiting UNICEF-supported projects in Afghanistan just a few days ago.
After years of war, drought last year and now flash flooding this year, an estimated 13 million people are food insecure, including 600,000 children who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
In 19 photos, these are some of their stories.
"My brother is sick and my mother is alone. There is no one to help us. I have to help my mother so my brother gets well."
Mum Ziba holds her son Suleiman in front of her family’s shelter in a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Herat province, Afghanistan.
The family had to leave their home due to drought last year and floods this year where they lost everything.
Suleiman, aged just 18 months, is tested for severe acute malnutrition by medical staff at a UNICEF-supported health care centre.
"Because of war and drought, we are refugees in this province."
Families wait outside the UNICEF-supported health clinic. UNICEF supports 1,300 health facilities across all 34 provinces of Afghanistan, providing life-saving medical care for children in need.
"My grandchild is sick. We are very happy the doctors help us."
Mother Shahr holds cotton wool to her son Saber’s (10-months) thin ankle after a blood sample was taken. He is being treated for severe acute malnutrition at a UNICEF-supported paediatric hospital near Herat city.
Tahera is comforted after her three-month-old son died from severe acute malnutrition at a UNICEF-supported paediatric hospital near Herat city. The doctors did everything they could to save him, performing CPR for six minutes in an attempt to resuscitate him.
Tahera brought Safiullah back to hospital four days ago for a second visit as he was suffering from high fever and diarrhoea. Safiullah’s twin brother Atiqullah also died one month ago, from severe acute malnutrition.
"My children are gone from this world."
That red line means little Qudratullah, seven-months, is severely malnourished. He’s being treated at a UNICEF-supported health care centre in Afghanistan.
His family are from Badghis Province but had to leave their home due to drought. They have been living in an IDP camp in Herat Province for 13 months and cannot go back as they sold their land. They are expecting to live in the camp for at least two or three more years.
A medical staff member shows mum Gul Zada how to feed her seven-month-old son, Qudratullah, ready-to-use food in a UNICEF-supported health care centre.
Rich in vitamins and minerals, the peanut-based paste is an absolute lifesaver. UNICEF is currently the sole provider of ready-to-use therapeutic food in Afghanistan where millions of people are food insecure.
Boys from different provinces play cricket together at the IDP camp, in Herat, Afghanistan.
The majority of children in the camps were displaced from their homes by drought or forced to flee increasing conflict.
“Come and take photos of me,” Sakina confidently tells the UNICEF photographer at the IDP camp. She says she likes the way she has done her hair.
A child receives medical care at a UNICEF-supported health care facility. Many of the children here are suffering from severe malnutrition and diarrhoea.
Any child with severe acute malnutrition needs to be treated to survive.
A girl reads from a textbook to her classmates at a temporary school inside the IDP camp.
Three boys wait in a doorway of a shelter at the IDP camp, Herat, Afghanistan.
A UNICEF doctor holds a child who is receiving treatment for malnutrition at a UNICEF-supported health facility.
Muhammad, 10, strikes a pose while hoola-hooping at a UNICEF child-friendly space in the camp for internally displaced people.
"I can swing this circle around my waist and I am happy that we play sports."
“The number of patients is very high, and the number of doctors is less and we have to sit in warm weather until our turn comes,” says Mah Bano from Ghor Province outside a UNICEF-supported health care centre inside the camp.
Help us send a fearless delivery of life-saving supplies to children who need it most.
Baby Mohammad was diagnosed with malnutrition and needed to be transferred to a UNICEF-supported children's hospital where he is receiving the care he needs.
We cannot do this without you
Right now in Afghanistan, ongoing drought and conflict continues to leave the country utterly devastated. More than 13 million people are food insecure – surviving on less than one meal a day.
Please consider making a donation to provide urgent care for malnourished children in Afghanistan.
We cannot do this work without you.
Donate to Children in Afghanistan
UNICEF will remain on the ground in Afghanistan supporting vulnerable children and their families. We can't do this without you.
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