Afghanistan

Afghan families receive food and blankets for a cold winter

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The humanitarian crisis continues to deepen in Afghanistan. The latest estimates reveal severe food insecurity, with 95 per cent of the people facing hunger.

FINN CHURCH AID has begun delivering emergency assistance to Afghanistan together with its partner organisation, HIA-Hungary. Together they have allocated 200,000 euros for emergency assistance, including food and winter kits to keep people warm as the weather gets colder.

The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, a country with a population of 40 million, continues to deepen. More than 40 years of war, a conflict which has escalated in recent months, poverty, the Covid-19 pandemic and a changing climate are now threatening the Afghan food security.

With the new Taliban-led government, many international organisations and funding providers have left the country. Amidst the crisis, the banking system has broken down, income opportunities have reduced and food prices increased.

Majority of Afghans do not have enough to eat

According to the World Food Programme, 95 per cent of Afghans are not consuming enough food and half of the population suffers from acute food shortages.

“I live hand to mouth on my small salary as a guard in a private hospital. Prices go up every day, making it hard for me to support my family. Now I have no choice but to bring home leftover food from my workplace in the hospital,” says Akhtar Mohammad, who lives in Mazar-i-Sharif.

Waheed, who lives in the same area, says he was an apprentice in a workshop before the situation escalated.

“I earned about 6,000 Afghani (57 euros) a month. Now I don’t have that job anymore. I have a wheelbarrow, so I get odd jobs and earn 80 to 100 Afghanis (less than a euro) a day. I can’t forget the time when we didn’t have oil for cooking for almost a week. I had to borrow money to buy some,” Waheed says.

As a result of the crisis, many have lost their livelihoods, making it impossible for them to meet basic needs without outside help.

Blankets for a cold winter

Finn Church Aid and HIA-Hungary distribute aid in the Balkh and Samangan provinces in northern Afghanistan. Their aim is to reach around 14,000 of the most vulnerable people.

Their assistance especially targets women and children living without a male family member, people with disabilities or in poor health, and people who live in tents or have taken in other families in need of help. The food aid distributed to families includes wheat flour, rice, vegetable oil, beans, biscuits and baby food. The approaching cold winter is also a concern for many locals.

“I’m worried because my kids need warm clothes. My main concern is that getting supplies to make bread has become difficult,” says Simagul, a widowed mother of five children living in northern Afghanistan. One of the goals of Finn Church Aid and HIA-Hungary’s emergency assistance is to distribute warm blankets to 2,000 households.

HIA-Hungary has been working in Afghanistan since 2001 to deliver humanitarian assistance and engage in development cooperation. The organisation has projects across several provinces. The new aid operation will run from October to December.

For more information, please contact: Jan De Waegemaeker, Humanitarian Assistance Specialist, tel. +358 50 574 0481, jan.de.waegemaeker@kua.fi. Enquiries and interviews in English.

Tomi Järvinen, Deputy Executive Director, tel. +358 40 641 8209, tomi.jarvinen@kua.fi. Interviews in Finnish and English.