Concerns have been raised with the Foreign Office amid reports some families have been forced to sell their children to survive.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been told the government must provide more money for Afghanistan, warning that the window of opportunity to pay its fair share of a $4.4billion UN aid appeal and save countless lives “is closing fast”.
Leading humanitarian organisations including Save the Children UK, International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Concern Worldwide have written to the Tory minister urging her to reconsider the current approach.
In an open letter, the charity leaders said that the £286million of UK aid announced so far is not enough because it amounts to just £7.15 for each of the 40m people at risk in Afghanistan.
The country is facing its worst food crisis on record, with Save the Children staff in Afghanistan reporting price increases as high as 63 per cent on goods such as flour, oil, beans and gas.
As a result, increasing numbers of families are being pressed to make desperate, life-altering decisions in order to afford basic items and survive.
The charity leaders include Gwen Hines, CEO of Save the Children UK, Laura Kyrke Smith, UK executive director at IRC, Danny Harvey, executive director at Concern Worldwide UK, and Patrick Watt, interim CEO at Christian Aid.
Chris Roles, managing director at Age International, and Major General (Ret’d) J M Cowan CBE DSO, CEO of HALO Trust, also among those are urging Truss to “step up now” and convene a global summit immediately to respond practically and financially to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
In the letter, they said: “Five million Afghan children are on the brink of famine. Every day, more people are succumbing to illness and starvation.
“With 98 per cent of families not having enough to eat, some are resorting to desperate measures - even selling their children.
“Our staff on the ground report suffering on a scale that most of us cannot comprehend.
“The UK Government would have public support if you chose to go further and faster and respond with urgency and compassion to the scale of the catastrophe underway.”
More than 20,000 people have signed Save the Children’s ‘Save Afghan Lives’ petition and more than £24m has been donated by the British public to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Afghanistan Crisis Appeal to date.
The UK Government was approached for comment.