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Finnish Red Cross funds aid work in Afghanistan with EUR 200,000 from its disaster relief fund

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The food shortage in Afghanistan is currently affecting more than half of the country’s population.

The upcoming winter presents a severe threat to those forced to flee within the country in particular.

The Finnish Red Cross is donating EUR 200,000 from its disaster relief fund to fund the International Red Cross’s aid work in Afghanistan.

The chronic humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has worsened rapidly this year due to the escalating conflict, the subsequent coup, the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged and severe drought, among other factors. At the same time, many major aid providers have discontinued or reduced their aid funding for Afghanistan.

The amount of people suffering from an acute shortage of food has increased by 37 per cent since April. At present, approximately 23 million people, or 55% of the total population, are suffering from the food crisis. The upcoming winter presents a severe threat particularly to those 700,000 people who have lost their homes or been forced to flee this year.

– The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is in a unique position to provide aid throughout the country and reach those in need. It is imperative to secure the continued provision of impartial and independent humanitarian aid, says the Finnish Red Cross’s Head of International Programmes Toni Jokinen.

The funds from the disaster relief fund will be used to support the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) emergency appeal, the aim of which is to provide aid to a total of 560,000 people across 16 provinces over a period of two years. The funds will be used to provide people with shelter, cash aid, food and other aid supplies.

The operation has already distributed cash aid to 3,500 families suffering from drought and hygiene packages to girls in particular. In addition to this, Afghan Red Crescent health stations and mobile health teams have provided health care services to over a million people across the country this year.

The aid work in Afghanistan is also being supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The worsening crisis is now being tackled with food and material aid in particular.

– We are currently in the process of delivering 3,000 tonnes of food, winter clothes, household supplies and hygiene packages to the country via Pakistan. This will not be enough, however. More aid and funding is urgently needed, says Jokinen.

The new donation will double the amount of funding provided by the Finnish Red Cross for the IFRC operation, as the Finnish Red Cross already granted EUR 200,000 from its disaster relief fund for the aid operation in Afghanistan earlier this year. In addition to this, funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has been allocated to the International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) operation and the IFRC’s COVID-19 operation.