It is six months since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan and the country remains in the throes of a deep humanitarian and economic crisis. 

Situation overview

Now battling a freezing winter, the people of Afghanistan are confronting the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. In a recent survey, The World Food Programme found that close to 100% of the population is unable to find enough food to eat on a day to day basis. The UN estimates that 23 million Afghans, more than half the population, will face life-threatening levels of hunger in 2022. Children are particularly vulnerable, with more than a million in danger of dying of starvation unless help reaches them. 

The new regime has still not been recognised by the international community and the consequences of the withdrawal of foreign troops, the collapse of the Afghan government and its security forces, the imposition of financial sanctions, and the subsequent economic collapse are still unfolding. Six months on, the country’s foreign exchange reserves are still frozen, the banks are hardly operating, and doctors and teachers are not being paid. Unfortunately, the cost of the crisis is being borne chiefly by the Afghan population, who were already facing a devastating humanitarian crisis. 

Afghanaid’s response

In collaboration with the UN and a network of other established NGOs, over the last six months Afghanaid has  been able to respond urgently to the growing crisis. Following the collapse of the previous Government last August, we immediately focused our efforts on negotiating safe access for our teams to the provinces where we work. We were quickly able to re-open all of our offices across the country and bring both men and women back to work. We conducted a robust review of the most urgent needs facing local communities and have continued to monitor the situation and adapt as it has developed. 

Our review suggested that the most effective course of action in responding to the current crises would be a two-stage approach: 

  1. Providing immediate, life-saving support to get people through the winter by distributing urgently needed cash, food, shelter and heating assistance;
  2. Supporting people and their communities to recover and rebuild their lives through longer-term activities.

The impact of our supporters

Thanks to an overwhelmingly generous response to our appeal, since August 2021, Afghanaid has so far reached over 625,680 men, women, boys and girls with life-saving humanitarian assistance. Over the winter, our teams have been battling against snow and treacherous weather in hilly areas to reach remote communities.

Stage 1 has included distributing the following:

  • Food packages to more than 53,170 families, providing enough food for 4 months to get them through the winter. These food packages include flour, rice, pulses, oil and other essentials.
  • 2 months’ worth of soya-based supplementary food to treat malnutrition for over 3,500 babies and young children from 6 months to 5 years old.
  • Cash for work, cash for food and cash for vital household essentials to some 13,240 vulnerable households.
  • Emergency shelter and household kits including heating, cooking and hygiene equipment to over 3,580 families.
  • Seed, fertiliser and training to almost 10,500 farmers whose livelihoods were already threatened by the worst drought for years.

What next for the people of Afghanistan?

Thanks to the remarkable response to our appeal and our close working relationship with the WFP, FAO and other UN agencies, in the weeks ahead we are planning to deliver emergency assistance to thousands more vulnerable families.  Once the winter is over, we will also begin stage 2 of our response: working with rural communities to recover, rebuild their lives, to get agriculture going again after the recent terrible drought, and to strengthen their resilience to face future crises. 

There are still enormous challenges ahead for Afghanistan. We are doing everything we can to save lives and help people get through this difficult time, but many of the challenges are long term and will require more sustained engagement by the international community. If millions of Afghans are to avoid starvation, it is absolutely vital that the banking system, the economy and basic services get back up and running, and that longer term development assistance is resumed.

In a recent speech, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, made an urgent appeal to members of the Security Council to remove the threat of sanctions on those providing humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan; to re-engage the Afghanistan Central Bank and increase liquidity; to make more funds available to the Reconstruction Trust Fund; and to unfreeze the country’s foreign exchange reserves to give those working in essential services a salary and a reason to stay in the country. He said, ‘As a matter of moral responsibility — and regional and global security and prosperity — we cannot abandon the people of Afghanistan. They need peace. They need hope. They need help. And they need it now.’

How can you help?

Over the coming months, Afghans will need more support than ever to get through this difficult time and rebuild their lives. Our crisis appeal is still open for donations if you would like to contribute to our vital work this year. If you wish to set up a regular gift, no matter how small or large, you will be helping us to provide reliable support for tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans in the months and years ahead. At this critical time in the life of the country, please don’t forget Afghanistan.

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