"The situation in Afghanistan is alarming" and the risk of famine is "imminent" with the approach of winter and the disorganization of services with the return of the Taliban to power, warned in an interview with AFP the director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Natalia Kanem is particularly concerned by the violence "to which women and girls are now victims", especially displaced women.

According to her, the harshness of the winter which hinders the proper functioning of transport and the pandemic will worsen an already difficult situation.

"There are a lot of concerns about how we are going to be able to treat and feed" people, warned this Panamanian doctor at the UNFPA headquarters in New York.

Women in danger

In this context, the first victims will be women.

"We cannot stress enough that, even during this period of transition, women and girls have rights that must be respected," she warned, recalling that Afghanistan is already "one of countries with the highest childbirth and pregnancy mortality rates ”in the world.

"The women of Afghanistan have made it clear for years that they want their education, their health care, and that they are also ready, willing and able to design programs so that they can lead their communities," insisted Natalia Kanem.

A risk of "total catastrophe"

Despite the Taliban's promises to be more open and less violent than during their first regime (1996-2001), the signs are not very encouraging for women.

On the one hand, they appear less rigorous, seem to bother women in the street less and allow them to study.

But on the other hand, they abolish the Ministry of Women, replace them with men in certain administrations, re-establish single sex at the university.

Natalia Kanem recalls that in an Afghanistan ravaged by decades of conflict, women, especially in areas hardest hit by violence, are the only breadwinners.

This is why "we really hope to be able to deliver goods and goods" to populations living in small communities, as well as "to preserve a functioning health system".

The UN official recognizes that the goal is "difficult" to achieve "with the airport closed" and "some professionals who have left the country."

"If the health system collapses, it will be a total disaster," Ms. Kanem is still alarmed.

The UN on Wednesday released $ 45 million in emergency aid for the health system in Afghanistan.

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