John Simpson, a veteran BBC journalist, broke down on air today as he spoke out about the imminent humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.

As he spoke, the 77-year old foreign correspondent described with a quivering voice how an Afghan mother of seven was facing starvation.

The warning comes after a report said that Afghanistan could see 23 million starving within months.

M. Simpson reported from Afghanistan. He has previously covered 120 countries in 30 war zones.

“And I found a Fatima, a widow in a cave right beside them. 

“She has seven children, five boys and five girls. They are already very poor.

Veteran BBC reporter John Simpson (pictured) today broke down in tears on air as he described the looming humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan

John Simpson, a veteran BBC journalist (pictured), broke down today on-air as he spoke out about the imminent humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.

The 77-year-old foreign correspondent spoke with a quavering voice as he described the plight of an Afghan mother-of-seven facing famine. It comes as new report warned that 23 million people in Afghanistan face starvation within months. Pictured: Library image of Afghan people walking side a fenced corridor towards the Pakistan border in August

As he spoke, the 77-year old foreign correspondent described with a quivering voice how an Afghan mother of seven was facing starvation. This comes amid a new report warning that Afghanistan’s 23 million citizens could starve within six months. Picture: Image from the Library. Afghans walk side-by-side along a fence towards Pakistan’s border in August

She used to make a living weeding for local farmers. She can’t get him to work because he cannot grow the crops he once grew.

“She has no money and she is having to go to the streets to get flour. This used to happen before the Taliban took over.

He said, “And, look around at those children, it was quite…quite difficult.” 

“I’ve seen lots of terrible things over my life, but it hasn’t happened yet, yet you know that this is coming.” They know this.

The broadcast was made as The World Food Programme (UN’s international food agency) warned today that Afghanistan will see 23 million people starve within months.

They predict that the Taliban’s rise to power will lead to a worsening of economic conditions.

This warning is part of WTP’s Report which showed that 45 million people were on the brink of starvation in 43 countries.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the increase in population from 42 million earlier this year is largely due to an assessment of food security that revealed another three million Afghans were at risk of starvation.

“Tens to millions are looking into the abyss,” said David Beasley, WFP Executive Director. David Beasley (WFP Executive Director) said that conflicts, climate change and Covid-19 have pushed up the hunger of those who are most in need.

After a visit to Afghanistan where WFP has increased support for nearly 23 million people, he stated, “And the latest data shows there are now more that 45 million people marching toward the brink of hunger.”

He added that: “Fuel prices are increasing, food price are soaring and fertiliser is more expensive and all this feeds into new crisis like the one in Afghanistan now, along with long-standing emergencies such as Yemen and Syria.”

On Sunday, Mr Beasley stated that Afghanistan’s situation is ‘as bad as you can imagine.

Simpson was told by he: “We now face the greatest humanitarian crisis on Earth.”

“Ninety five percent” of people are starving, with 23 million people now marching toward hunger. 

'Tens of millions of people are staring into an abyss. We've got conflict, climate change and Covid-19 driving up the numbers of the acutely hungry,' WFP Executive Director David Beasley (pictured) said

Tens of millions are looking into the abyss. “We’ve got conflict and climate change driving up the number of the acutely hunger,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley (pictured), said.

“The next six-months will prove to be disastrous. It will be hell on Earth.

Asking him what message he’d send the West on the Afghanistan crisis, Beasley responded: ‘To world leaders, billionaires: Imagine if this were your little girl or boy, or your grandchild starving to death.

“You will do all you can. And when there’s $400 trillion of wealth on the earth today – shame on us if we let any child die from hunger. Shame on us!

WFP reported that global famine prevention costs now total seven billion dollars. That’s an increase of the 6.6 million dollars in the previous year.

However, the group cautioned that existing funding sources were not sufficient.

Family members facing severe food insecurity may be compelled to make a difficult choice. This could include marrying early or pulling children out of school.

According to the report, “Meanwhile media reports out of Afghanistan suggest that Afghan families are being forced to sell their kids in desperate attempts to survive.”

It said that multiple droughts in Afghanistan combined with an economic meltdown pushed families to the brink. Some 12.4 Million Syrians do not know where to eat for the next day – more than ever during the decade-long conflict.

According to the Rome-based agency, there are increasing levels of acute hunger in Ethiopia, Somalia and Angola as well as Kenya and Burundi. 

The World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations Children’s Agency launched on Monday a campaign against polio in Afghanistan. This is the first national campaign to combat the disease in the last three years. 

Taliban support was given to this campaign which aims at reaching more than 3,000,000 children. This would enable teams to reach previously unreachable areas of the country.

According to Ahmed Al Mandhari of WHO, the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Director, the urgency with which Taliban leaders want the polio campaigns to continue demonstrates a shared commitment to maintaining the health system and restarting essential immunizations to avoid further outbreaks.

Momim however stated that remote teams needed more training so the initial programme would be in Kabul.

Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are both in Pakistan’s neighboring region, have endemic Polio. This is an incurable disease that spreads through the sewage and can result in crippling paralysis for young children.

A decades-long campaign of vaccinations has virtually ended polio worldwide. 

Mass vaccination has been halted in Afghanistan and Pakistan due to insecurity and inaccessible terrain.

Gunmen attacked eastern Afghanistan in an attack that killed several polio workers this year. However, it is not known who the attackers were.

WHO statistics before August’s collapse show that there was only one case of wild poliovirus type 1, (WPV1), in Afghanistan 2021. This compares to 56 cases in 2020.

Experts in health say that the disease can still pose a risk to the health of people, particularly those living in countries with fragile health systems, until the infection is completely eliminated.