The situation continues to unfold in Afghanistan. A humanitarian crisis is escalating and the United Nations estimate that over 663,000 people across the country are displaced, many without food, shelter and access to water.
Women and children are the most at risk in this crisis and the number of them facing neglect has multiplied. Malnutrition, and the spread of diseases, amongst those who are displaced has intensified and Hagar staff on the ground can see the vulnerability of people growing every day as desperation for the basic essentials increases.
In recent weeks, Hagar staff have met with representatives from the new government and have received official approval that Hagar’s work can continue. This is a significant development. In addition to continuing some of our ongoing programmes with confidence, our Hagar staff are now able to move quickly on the implementation of our planned humanitarian response. Over the coming months, Hagar will be carrying out the following four relief activities, assisting approximately 13,000 vulnerable and displaced people in Kabul:
- Food Provision: Giving food aid and basic essentials to existing clients and other vulnerable individuals and families who are currently displaced or whose livelihoods have been severely impacted.
- Healthcare: Providing primary healthcare for displaced persons, which includes establishing and running a mobile medical clinic under the care of Hagar’s in-house doctor.
- Emergency Shelter: Establishing an emergency shelter, targeting at-risk homeless girls and women who are significantly more vulnerable at this time. The team in Afghanistan have shared about the rapid increase in older women who are begging on the streets, desperate for any bread or cash that they can find.
- Safe Spaces: Setting up safe spaces and classrooms for displaced young children, where they can continue to learn, play and feel safe.
Since the start of the crisis, Hagar supporters from around the world rallied and generously donated to ensure that the Afghanistan team have the financial resources that they needed to be able to implement these four activities until the end of the year.
Despite the continuing banking restrictions in Afghanistan, Hagar offices have been able to successfully send several tranches of funding into the country through other channels, which has allowed some food and healthcare services to be provided during this time, though not at the intended scale we had originally hoped for. These initial banking challenges are expected in this situation and there is confidence that these issues will be resolved soon. When they are, Hagar is ready to respond to the needs of thousands of people practically and efficiently.
Hagar is also planning long-term. While Hagar supporters have donated and successfully given what was needed to begin the relief activities and implement them for several months, the needs on the ground have grown since initial budgets were set and continue to do so every day. In addition to this already escalating situation, current droughts are threatening food supply and the harsh Afghanistan winter is approaching. Hagar therefore know that while our initial response is funded, further financial support will be needed in the future as we continue our work in supporting vulnerable women and children in Afghanistan in the years to come.
We are still, and will continue to, accept donations from anyone who wishes to partner with us in our response. It is only together, that we will be able to practically make a difference in the lives of thousands of displaced and vulnerable people at this crucial time.