UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The U.N. Children's Fund has issued an urgent appeal for $3.8 million to help 2.5 million drought-stricken people in Afghanistan, half of them children.
The appeal comes after there was no response to UNICEF's initial plea this summer for $2.5 million.
Officials Tuesday warned the lack of water and food will exacerbate disease and malnutrition in the young.
"While Afghanistan is struggling to set up infrastructures and put systems in place in a sustained developmental approach to remedy the destruction caused by more than two decades of conflict, crucial areas requiring urgent humanitarian assistance still remain," UNICEF said in its latest donor update for the country.
The drought has affected the north, northeast, west and southern provinces, the U.N. children's agency said. In addition, conflict in the south has displaced more than 20,000 families from their villages.
In July, the Afghan government and the U.N. Country Team launched a Joint Drought Appeal covering up to December, in which UNICEF asked for $2.5 million.
Due to the deterioration of the situation both from the drought and renewed fighting, the appeal has been extended to April and UNICEF has requested an additional $3.8 million on top of the original request of $2.5 million.
"No commitment has been made in response to the last appeal," the agency said.
Afghanistan's infant mortality rate is already estimated at 165 per 1,000 live births; its maternal mortality ratio, at 1,600 per 100,000 live births, is one of the highest in the world.