in the first two weeks after launching an emergency appeal for Afghanistan on 15 December, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) raised £26m for the millions of people suffering in Afghanistan, as they face a desperate and freezing start to 2022. It is currently estimated that over 8 million people are on the brink of famine, with 1 million children under the age of five at risk of dying over the next three months.
The appeal was supported by HRH The Prince of Wales, alongside well-known figures, including Gillian Anderson, Dua Lipa and JJ Chalmers, who called on the UK public to act fast.
Thanks to the public’s generosity and £10m match-funding from the UK Government, DEC member charities are already on the ground delivering life-saving aid.
Among them is Action Against Hunger, who are using appeal funds to co-fund 17 health and nutrition mobile teams, reaching 60,350 children and 11,050 child-bearing women. By providing integrated nutrition and health services, Action Against Hunger’s qualified teams treat undernutrition and cure related diseases before they become fatal, including giving malnourished children vital nutritional supplements.
Zahara is a mother living in Daykundi, one of the central highland provinces of Afghanistan, who received support from Action Against Hunger.
Zahara said: During my pregnancy I was scared; I felt weak and had pains in my hands and feet. We did not have enough food and we face many problems. The doctor told me that both myself and my unborn child were malnourished and weak and gave me medicine for anaemia.
“Now we have enough to eat as we’ve been given a card for food aid. The doctor told me to eat peas, beans, and fruits and provided other health advice.”
13 of the DEC’s member charities are currently responding using the appeal funds. Between them they are working across all 34 provinces of the country, providing food aid and nutritional treatments, distributing cash grants, supporting farmers to plant seeds, and equipping Afghans with urgently needed winter kits, to help communities cope with plummeting temperatures in the weeks ahead.
The funding will also be used to supply clean drinking water and sanitation to avoid the spread of water-borne diseases, and to protect women and girls, who are amongst the most vulnerable.
Saleh Saeed, CEO of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) said: “As we look ahead to 2022 it’s hard to imagine the extent of the suffering in Afghanistan. It’s an unfolding catastrophe. Temperatures are now dropping fast, and millions of people are really struggling to cope with hunger and the cold.
“However, it’s been incredibly heart-warming to see how the British public have taken time out of their busy festivities to think about the men, women and children who are facing starvation in Afghanistan. My sincerest thanks go out to everyone who has donated so generously and the UK government who have matched £10 million of public donations, enabling us to reach even more people with life-saving aid.
“DEC member charities are working tirelessly on the ground, and thanks to your support, have been able to scale up their work to reach thousands more people with nutrition, health care, food aid, cash, blankets, heaters and clothes to help families keep warm. Your support is saving lives – thank you.”