A looming humanitarian disaster

A perfect storm of protracted war, drought and pandemic is now threatening millions of Afghans. The Giving Hope For Them (GHFT) is sounding the alarm: if help fails to materialise, a great many people will freeze and starve to death.

“Afghanistan is on the verge of collapse. If we don’t act now, it will have catastrophic consequences,” says Astrid Sletten, who leads GHFT’s work in the country.

“Several countries, not least the NATO countries that have recently withdrawn their soldiers, have a moral responsibility to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. They left behind a chaotic situation where millions of people have no idea how they will be able to put food on the table or where their children will be sleeping in the coming weeks and months. Winter will soon be upon us, and it is becoming urgent to reach those who need assistance.”

A perfect storm

At the beginning of this year, war and drought had displaced more than 3.5 million people, and more than 18 million people depended on humanitarian aid to survive. In the last six months alone, more than half a million people have been displaced from their homes.

In addition to the protracted conflict, Afghans are facing their worst drought in 30 years. On top of this, Afghanistan, like all other countries, is struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.

The international forces left a country in chaos, where the banking system and large parts of the social structure have collapsed. The World Bank has warned that seven out of ten Afghans will end up below the poverty line. Food prices have skyrocketed, and a third of the population is uncertain whether they will have access to enough food in the future.

Urgent need to raise money

“Because of Kabul residents offering food and water, the displaced families have managed to survive so far. But the Afghans cannot provide everything that is needed. Funding from the international community is desperately needed to provide shelter, water, food, medicine and sanitation assistance to everyone who needs it,” says Sletten.

According to Sletten, there is now a window of a maximum of two months to get the necessary funding in place to be able to help.

GHFT has been in Afghanistan since 2003. We have 1,600 Afghan employees and work in 14 provinces across the country. Last year we reached 762,076 people with life-saving assistance.

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