Afghanistan: a little poorer every day
In December alone, prices rose in Kabul by 25%. Some provinces in the north saw inflation rates of 140%, prompting demonstrations, in Kunduz for example. The devaluation of the afghani, the local currency, is one reason for the increase in the cost of living. A week before Ramadan it lost 16% of its value, an event which had a serious impact on the price of staple foods, with tea, flour, sugar and rice suddenly becoming unaffordable. The purchasing power of civil servants (whose monthly salaries range from four to five US dollars) is now equivalent to the price of a single 7-kg bag of rice per month.
With poverty spreading and most of Kabul's districts still without electricity, the ICRC is making a special effort to provide the people assisted by it with the means to keep warm. It is continuing to distribute blankets, candles, charcoal and wood stoves to the disabled, war widows and orphans, who are among the most vulnerable inhabitants of the Afghan capital.