With the winter fast approaching, families in rural Afghanistan are preparing for another year of punishing weather.

The majority of families living in the Ferozkoh district of Ghor were already unable to cover the costs of food and other basic essentials before the spread of the pandemic. Since COVID-19 hit the country, their existing challenges have been magnified.

These families are particularly vulnerable during the winter when their land is covered in snow, and the lack of suitable shelter and heating facilities mean people fall seriously unwell and many lives are lost.

As increasingly harsh and erratic winters become the norm with a changing climate, and with a second wave of the pandemic just around the corner, it is families in remote regions like Ghor that are at most risk.

Preparing for the coming winter

In partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), we recently launched a project to support some 9,100 vulnerable men, women and children in Ferozkoh with lifesaving shelter assistance and critical heating assistance so that they can protect themselves from the freezing winter weather.

Over the next five months, we will provide 300 families with financial assistance to pay their rent and keep a roof over their heads. These same households and an additional 1,000 will also receive money to purchase a heater for their homes, followed by a second instalment to purchase fuel so they can keep their new heaters running.

With this support, they will be able to keep their families warm, preventing increased illness and deaths as a result of exposure to the cold. This will also enable them to build up their financial buffers, so that they are more resilient against future shocks, such as the pandemic.

Targeting the most vulnerable

We aim to save lives in the areas of greatest need. We are specifically targeting vulnerable households including families displaced by conflict or climate change, women-headed households and families with a large number of dependent children.

Building capacity

By easing the financial stresses of keeping their families alive and healthy throughout the winter, this vital work stops vulnerable people from having to resort to negative coping strategies. This will also enable them to keep working and studying so they can reach their full potential. As one of the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in the world, it is crucial that families living here are given support to build their resilience so that they can lift themselves out of poverty and work towards a stronger future for their communities.

How can you help?

Complex and every-changing situations like Afghanistan require ongoing support. Do something amazing today and set up a monthly gift to help vulnerable communities combat the effects of climate change and break the cycle of poverty.

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