As we head into winter, Afghanistan faces what campaigners are calling the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” following the Taliban’s takeover. Here’s what you need to know and how you can help.
Nearly three months after the Taliban seized control of Kabul following the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the conflict and humanitarian crisis in the country continues, with major charities warning of the dangers as we head into winter.
Afghanistan is currently experiencing an economic crisis aggravated by the conflict, and severe drought has caused a collapse in food security since the Taliban takeover in August.
The US and other Western countries have cut off direct financial assistance, while the Taliban government cannot access billions of dollars in Afghan national reserves held abroad.
“Afghanistan is now among the world’s worst humanitarian crises – if not the worst – and food security has all but collapsed. This winter, millions of Afghans will be forced to choose between migration and starvation,” the World Food Programme’s executive director David Beasley told The Guardian, adding that “we are on a countdown to catastrophe”.
How to help the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan
Women For Afghan Women
When the coup began, the largest women’s group in Afghanistan, Women for Afghan Women, launched an emergency campaign and continue raise funds to help protect women and children.
“Afghanistan is currently one of the most difficult countries in the world in which to identify as a woman,” the charity explains. “Political and economic insecurity, educational inequality, sexual violence, and poor health are pervasive.”
United Nations Population Fund
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is a sexual and reproduction health agency who are working on the ground team to ensure women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights are protected.
They provide lifesaving midwife services, access to accurate information and safe, effective, affordable and acceptable contraception and promotes policies, programmes and legislation designed to end child marriage amid the crisis in Afghanistan.
UN World Food Programme
The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) also announced that the number of people living in near-famine conditions in Afghanistan has risen to 8.7 million, up by 3 million from earlier this year.
Currently, 60% of the country’s population suffer from acute hunger, caused by severe drought and simply being unable to afford to buy food.
The WFP is rushing in supplies to feed people as the harsh winter sets in, but it says it needs some $220 million a month in 2022 to fund its effort.
Afghan Aid is responding with emergency assistance where needed and supporting families who have lost their homes and livelihoods as a result of the conflict.
So far, they have distributed over 41,500 emergency food packages distributed to vulnerable Afghans and supported 24,900 farmers to grow more food to feed their families.
Save The Children
Save The Children has been a leading charity in Afghanistan since 1976 and are currently on emergency alert in the country.
“Right now, the situation for children in Afghanistan is dire, with at least 75,000 having had to flee their homes in the last months amid escalating violence,” it explains. Even before the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan was crippled by hunger and poverty; as COVID-19, conflict, and drought combined to create a food crisis of a scale not previously seen.”