ACTION ALERT: Afghanistan – the Situation Continues to Deteriorate

Afghan child

Afghan child. Photo: Amber Clay, Pixabay

Six months into the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the situation is reaching new crisis levels. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), nearly 25 million of the country’s 37 million population are now food insecure in Afghanistan – and nearly 9 million have reached emergency levels. Jobs are virtually nonexistent and banks have no money. The economy is collapsing, the health system is collapsing, food prices are soaring, and an ongoing drought threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of Afghans. And a new COVID surge is battering Afghanistan’s already crumbling health care.

Some desperate Afghan families have even resorted to selling their children.

GlobalWA members continue to provide aid, and hope. Please consider helping Afghan families survive this crisis by supporting the following GlobalWA members. And please share this information with friends, colleagues and peers.

CARE: CARE has launched a large-scale humanitarian response in Afghanistan and aims to reach 1.8 million people with emergency support in the next three years.  CARE began working in Afghanistan in 1961 and has approximately 400 staff in the country, a majority of whom are Afghans.  To address the severe hunger crisis, CARE is providing malnutrition treatment, agricultural support and training, and flexible cash for families which can be used to purchase food and basic necessities. And CARE’s cash-for-work programs provide jobs and income while also helping make improvements in the community, such as repairing broken water and sewer systems.  In all these programs, CARE places a special focus on women and girls, making sure they have shared access to resources and opportunities.

Concern Worldwide: Concern Worldwide has worked in Afghanistan for 23 years since responding to a major earthquake in 1998.

Under the current political and military context, and amidst the compounding challenges of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, Concern’s team has been on the ground in the north and northeast of the country. Our emergency programming includes distributing non-food items such as cooking utensils, solar lamps, laundry and hand soap, and blankets to families. Cash installment activities include distributing chickens, food for the chickens, and hencoop construction materials to families to help provide both food and income and using cash-for-work programs to provide income support for families and strengthen local flood protection measures. To support WASH and disaster risk reduction priorities, we are constructing 1,850 trenches, 14 terraces, three reservoirs and dams, and planting fruit trees as part of expanding the land stabilization program.

Alongside the humanitarian response, Concern responds to longer-term development needs through education for primary school-aged children in the most vulnerable communities. We continue to support the women of Afghanistan through a new program launched in April 2021, which seeks to advance women’s economic empowerment and address poverty through agri-business development in dairy, saffron, almond, fruit, and vegetables. Click here to support Concern’s work in Afghanistan.

International Rescue Committee: The IRC’s mission is to help people whose lives are shattered by conflict and disaster to recover and gain control of their futures.

We began work in Afghanistan in 1988, launching relief programs for people displaced by the invasion of the Soviet Union. We now work with thousands of villages across nine provinces, with Afghans making up more than 99% of IRC staff in the country. In recent years, the IRC has become one of the leaders in women’s protection and empowerment in the country.

As Afghanistan struggles to recover from conflict, natural disasters and COVID-19, the IRC:

Learn more about IRC’s work in Afghanistan.

Mercy Corps: Mercy Corps is supporting communities in Afghanistan. Since 1986, Mercy Corps has provided lifesaving and life-sustaining services alongside long-term development support – from water and sanitation to agriculture and vocational training. We remain committed to working with Afghans across society to help them meet urgent needs, reconcile and build a peaceful community. In 2020, we reached more than 370,000 people across the country. Learn more.

Operation Snow Leopard: Operation Snow Leopard is a non-profit committed to evacuating Afghans who were left at risk following the fall of the democratic regime. These Afghan heroes served alongside coalition forces and dedicated their lives to promoting the universal declaration of human rights, women’s empowerment, and representative government. Operation Snow Leopard is determined to honor their bravery and partnership by developing safe evacuation pathways, partnering with destination countries, providing immigration support, and working with qualified partner organizations to resettle and integrate refugees. Our goal is to evacuate a further 1,000 high-risk Afghans and their immediate families by January 2024.

Operation Snow Leopard also supports The Afghan Digest, a dynamic Substack-based publication focused on vetting and sharing intelligence, providing analysis across disciplines to harvest valuable lessons learned, and providing timely/accurate information so at-risk Afghans and relevant stakeholders are better informed and equipped to respond to the constantly evolving situation in Afghanistan.

Sahar: Over the last five months, Sahar has strategically transitioned our operations to meet the demands of the changed education space. We have deliberately put grassroot and Afghan-led initiatives and organizations at the forefront of tackling the current educational needs. Our most recent project includes funding two mobile schools for girls and boys led by a remarkable woman and devoted Afghan education campaigner. We are also in the process of partnering with an Afghan-led institution to deliver our programs and workshops for high school and middle aged girls who we served previously. We continue to explore strategies to address barriers to girls’ education following the return of the Taliban by seeking new project proposals and concept notes with potential Afghan partners.  We also continue to provide stipends for all former staff members who remain in Afghanistan and who have been unable to work.

Save the Children: In Afghanistan we are seeing even more children going hungry, with no shelter, food or medical care. Save the Children’s intention is to ‘stay and deliver’ in Afghanistan. Even before the events of the last month, Afghanistan had the second highest number of people facing emergency hunger levels in the world. As we look to the next phase of programming in Afghanistan, we know that there will be a need for immediate health and nutrition support.

At the same time, with hundreds of thousands of newly displaced Afghan refugees arriving in the U.S. and other countries, we are committed to supporting them. Save the Children has mobilized its emergency response team to meet their most urgent needs at a transit site in northern Virginia and is seeking to expand to other states where families are also arriving.

We have already established a safe play and activity area for kids at the transit center in northern Virginia, where kids can have a moment to be kids again, begin to express themselves and cope during this scary and stressful time. In addition, Save the Children’s emergency response staff has setup a private space for families with small babies, where mothers and caregivers can change diapers and feed their children.

We also stand ready to support at other temporary shelters opening up across the country to support refugee children and families, as well as provide essential child-focused items, including hygiene kits, diapers, wipes and COVID-prevention materials.

CEO Janti Soeripto calls on the US government to ensure safe passage out of the country for Afghans who may be at risk. Read more in this press release.

World Vision: World Vision has been working in Afghanistan since 2001, when our operations began in response to an emergency. Within a few years, the organisation moved toward rehabilitation and then on to long-term development programming. Since 2011, we have focused our operations in Herat, Ghor and Badghis provinces in the western region of the country.

As World Vision, we strive to ensure all children experience good health; are educated for life; are cared for, protected and participating, and experience spiritual nurture. We are proud to say that we have an excellent reputation among Afghan communities and feel privileged to be widely accepted in the provinces in which we work. We see everything we do as a partnership between us, communities and our donors. Learn more about World Vision’s work in Afghanistan.