Afghanistan Emergency Appeal

Update: 06.9.2021

Disaster

An entire generation of Afghans has known nothing but conflict. As the humanitarian catastrophe unfolds, thousands continue to be displaced, while the futures of others remains uncertain.

Nearly half of all Afghans were living in poverty and in need of assistance, much before this turmoil. A triple disaster of many years of conflict, climate change and now the impact of Covid-19, has pushed many families to the brink of survival.

The current situation means Afghanistan’s hunger crisis is worsening by the day.

  • Almost one in three people go to bed hungry
  • More than 3.5 million people are just one step away from famine
  • Half of all children under five are expected to suffer from malnutrition in 2021
  • Food supplies are running out and inflation is skyrocketing
  • No employment
Photo: Afghanistan

Impact

Families particularly in rural areas are desperate. Our teams report on the increased numbers of malnourished and destitute children, people begging on the streets or in debt just to get food for their families. Women and children are particularly affected, with many reduced to one meal a day and some even going days on end without food.

Many people have left their homes in search of safety, shelter and a better life.

  • Almost 600,000 people have been displaced within Afghanistan so far this year
  • Thousands who fled in recent weeks are sheltering in basic tents, without aid and at risk of outbreaks of diarrhoea and other diseases
  • Other people have fled the country as refugees, adding to the more than 2.2 million Afghan refugees globally.

As needs increase, the current uncertainty and insecurity mean that much vital humanitarian work is on hold. It is absolutely vital that humanitarian organisations have safe access and sufficient funding to reach people in need.

Response

Islamic Relief has worked in Afghanistan since 1999 and is one of the few agencies to operate continuously throughout this difficult period. We have a team of almost 250 staff – nearly half of whom are women – and projects in 35 districts, providing emergency relief and long-term development across the country. Last year alone our work in Afghanistan supported almost half a million (484,777) women, men and children. This work included:

  • Disseminating vital public health information to reduce the spread of Covid-19
  • Distributing emergency aid to thousands of people made homeless by flash flooding
  • Providing food and treating malnourished children
  • Increasing girls’ enrolment in school by training teachers and working with community elders
  • Providing maternal healthcare, as well as antenatal and postnatal care
  • Rehabilitating drug users and helping them to reintegrate into society
  • Supporting women’s literacy, and giving vocational training to empower impoverished youth and women to earn an income
  • Providing counselling and psychosocial support for women and children affected by gender-based violence.

Now we are determined to scale up further. We have launched a £5 million (US$ 6.9m) global emergency appeal to provide aid to vulnerable people in Kabul, Balkh, Herat and Nangarhar, as soon as we are permitted and it is safe to do so. This urgent aid will initially include food packages, hygiene kits, shelters and other essential supplies for the most vulnerable people, particularly women and children. We also hope to expand our existing long-term development projects across the country as soon as possible.

We are also supporting the growing number of Afghan refugees in some parts of the world. For example, this month Islamic Relief volunteers have provided food, water and clothing to newly arrived refugees in the US and Europe. On the Greek island of Lesvos, where the majority of asylum seekers are Afghan and are living in squalid conditions, we partner with HIAS, the Jewish refugee agency, to provide legal support and counselling.  

For too many years, the international community has seen Afghanistan through a military lens and shaped by strategic interests. Now the Afghan people must come first.

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