The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has faded from headlines, but this does not mean it has ended. Presently, 95% of Afghans are not getting enough to eat, and more than half of Afghans (24.4 million people) urgently need humanitarian assistance. Worse still, half of these are children. Compounding the humanitarian situation is the fact that over 3.5 million people are still internally displaced. Since the Taliban assumed power in August 2021, People in Need has supported 3,800 families with 6,400 aid distributions worth $500,000 USD.
"We are mainly providing people with cash assistance that lasts for several months. People are mainly using this aid to buy food, repair their houses, pay for rent or healthcare," says Klára Mičkalová, PIN’s Country Director in Afghanistan. "Thanks to the fact that the market is still working in Afghanistan even though it is very fragile, people have the opportunity to buy what they need most.” PIN is helping such families with cash aid of between $43 - $130 USD per distribution.
People in Need supports 27,000 Afghanis, including people like Hadayatullah—a 28-years-old father of eight. He fled the conflict in Faryab in northern Afghanistan. Due to an explosion, he has been disabled and cannot work. "We managed to take just some mattresses, blankets and pillows with us," Hadayatullah describes how his family fled the fighting. "We mainly need cash and material to repair the shelter and household equipment," describes his family’s biggest needs.
The head of Hadayatullah’s community identified Hadayatullah’s family as one that should receive aid. Now he is receiving cash support. "I will spend the money on the treatment of my wife, who is very sick. She has only one kidney, which has a stone, so I will spend the money on surgery," says Hadayatullah. At the same time, he thinks about the future and wishes to find a job. "If I am able to get a loan, I can open a small shop, sit and sell food since I am not able to walk easily," notes Hadayatullah.
My sons are collecting plastic bottles in the streets
Nafisa, a 30-year-old who lived in Jawzjan province in northern Afghanistan, is another beneficiary of PIN’s work. Nafisa’s life, like many in Afghanistan, is far from easy. Her husband died, and she was left to care for five children.
Nafisa left Jawzjan for Mazar-i-Sharif with her children. "We did not have many belongings, and still we could not manage to bring even the few most valuable ones," she adds, noting that what she currently needs is finding a place to stay and a stable job to earn some money. "The community supports me a lot. I am working hard washing clothes and doing household chores for rich people so that I can send my children to school," Nafisa states, describing her current sources of income. People in Need’s cash assistance allows Nafisa to buy essential food items such as flour, rice, and oil, as well as pay her rent. And what is her biggest wish? "Peace and cheer all over the world."
Samiullah fled the Sholgar district in northern Afghanistan due to the fighting. "We brought nothing with us because of airstrikes. All our house and property was burned," says the 52-year-old father of four. Samiullah notes how his neighbours help him support his family, but still, the situation is challenging, he notes: "My sons cannot go to school and are collecting plastic bottles and cans from the street due to financial problems we are facing,". The money Samiullah receives from PIN is spent on food for the family and paying rent. "I need a job so that I can send my sons to school," Samiullah wishes.
Drought for the second year in a row
In addition to the crises resulting from hostilities, Afghanistan has been significantly affected by drought, which is likely to affect the country for the second year in a row, according to climate predictions. “The situation is especially difficult for farmers and also for the markets. Since March, People in Need has extended its activities to least developed and neglected regions supporting the local farmers,” says Klára Mičkalová.
PEOPLE IN NEED SUPPORTED 27,000 PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY
People in Need opened its Afghanistan mission in 2001. Over the last 20 years, it has helped hundreds of thousands of Afghans feed themselves, build and repair their homes, schools, and clinics, and establish essential infrastructure such as roads, electricity, and water supplies. PIN emphasises improving the use of natural resources and systemic support for agriculture, including direct support to farmers.
PIN’s team in Afghanistan is currently providing people in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif with humanitarian cash aid to support their immediate food needs and prevent them from hunger, repair their shelters and support their return home. This would never be possible without the generous support of people who contributed to PIN’s Afghanistan Emergency Appeal and funds from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alliance2015 and Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund, which is managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Author: Juliana Hámová, Petr Štefan, People in Need