One year ago, on August 15, 2021, the world watched in horror as the Government of Afghanistan collapsed after an extensive military advance by the Taliban. Since those chaotic first days, the Taliban takeover has led to economic and political instability and the deterioration of basic services across the country, including increased prices of staple foods, and left more than half the country’s population in need of humanitarian support.
ell before the August 15 collapse of the Government of Afghanistan, USAID had supported a robust humanitarian response in Afghanistan alongside our partners on the ground–and we never stopped. Since August 2021, the United States has provided more than $774 million in humanitarian assistance to support the people of Afghanistan, including more than $573 million from USAID.
Here are three ways USAID has continued to save lives and stand by the people of Afghanistan over the past year:
1. Helped Avert Food Security Crisis
Relief groups, including USAID partners, averted a worst-case food security scenario by scaling up emergency food assistance in the fall and winter months. With USAID support, our partners have reached more than 11 million people with critical food and nutrition assistance since August 2021. In addition, USAID partner the UN World Food Program continues to position food and other supplies near strategic border crossing points in the region and throughout the country for distribution in the coming winter months.
2. Kept Families Safe During Winter
With the onset of a harsh winter, U.S. humanitarian partners ramped up assistance — especially shelter support — to protect people from the cold. In mid 2021, we were reaching approximately 358,000 people with shelter assistance; this number jumped to 1.2 million people in the ensuing months. Aid organizations also helped vulnerable families stay warm by providing blankets, fuel, heaters, shelter repair kits, and winter clothing, in addition to cash for rent.
3. Responded Rapidly to the June 2022 Earthquake
On June 22, 2022, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan. Within hours, USAID partners were responding with vital relief including emergency health care, food, shelter, water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance. With support from USAID and other donors, the International Organization for Migration distributed more than 30,000 emergency kits to more than 40,000 earthquake survivors in Khost and Paktika provinces — the two areas most severely affected by the earthquake.
The past year has been devastating to the people of Afghanistan, many of whom have faced insecurity and uncertainty as they’ve struggled to meet their basic needs amid conflict, displacement, the COVID-19 pandemic, and natural disasters, all on top of the Taliban takeover. The United States will continue to stand with the Afghan people and remains committed to delivering aid to the most vulnerable.
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