Emergency Update: Helping Afghans find safe refuge

Afghanistan is in the grip of a chronic humanitarian crisis, caused by prolonged, violent conflict and exacerbated by poverty, drought and the COVID-19 pandemic. The conflict has escalated since allied troops exited in August 2021, forcing almost 390,000 people to leave their homes in September alone, and seek refuge in safer areas of Afghanistan or neighbouring Pakistan and Iran.

These displaced families join more than five million refugees who have previously fled Afghanistan to protect their lives. According to UN estimates, almost half the Afghanistan population – a total of 18.4 million people – now require humanitarian assistance.

Palwashay Arbab, from our local partner in Afghanistan Community World Service Asia (CWSA), told us in January:

“Uprooted communities in Afghanistan are currently faced with a plethora of problems. They do not have warm clothes or any sort of heating equipment to survive in the harsh winter that has hit the country. There is extreme food insecurity and very limited or no access to adequate hygiene, health or education.”

Act for Peace supporters like you responded with extraordinary generosity to our Afghanistan Emergency appeal, giving more than $440,000 to support families uprooted by the conflict. Thank you so much for your overwhelming support.

(Left) Many people who have been forced from their homes by the conflict are now living in camps that lack even the most basic facilities. (Right) Children and the elderly are at most risk due to the extreme weather conditions in Afghanistan. Image credit: CWSA

Providing safety in exile

At the end of December, the UN Security Council announced its decision to exempt humanitarian aid from sanctions placed on the Taliban regime. This important exemption will enable life-saving assistance to reach some 22 million people within Afghanistan.

Your compassionate gifts will help provide health care, food and clean water, sanitation and other essential services to displaced people living in cramped, unsanitary camps that lack even the most basic facilities.

Your gifts have now been sent to our local partner, Community World Service Asia (CWSA), in Afghanistan.

Palwashay explained:

“CWSA is responding to the crises in Afghanistan in three regional hubs; Bamyan, Jalalabad and Kabul. We are providing life-saving assistance to families who are conflict and COVID-19 affected, and those who are hit by poverty, drought and extreme weather conditions. This is clearly one of the worst humanitarian crises faced by Afghan communities in its history. And ensuring that timely assistance reaches them means saving lives. Children and the elderly are at most risk due to the extreme weather conditions in Afghanistan. Many children are presently at a risk of malnutrition.”

Meanwhile, CWSA has also been providing crucial humanitarian aid to refugees arriving in Pakistan. This aid includes distributing immediate food relief and other essential items, as well as cash assistance, to thousands of refugee households – giving priority to women, children and people living with a disability.

The harsh conditions of the cold season are taking a heavy toll on displaced families here too, especially those living in makeshift shelters or exposed open spaces. Thanks to generosity like yours, CWSA is protecting people from potentially dangerous winter conditions, providing shelter and cash support so refugees can buy warm winter clothing and bedding.

Building resilience for the future

By delivering this crucial humanitarian aid, our partner CWSA is working to meet the immediate, fundamental needs of displaced Afghan people and ensure that families can live in safety and with dignity while displaced.

At the same time, thanks to your support, CWSA is working with the local host and refugee communities to help them become more resilient to drought and famine, and to establish sustainable local services to meet their food, health care and sanitation needs over the long term.

Palwashay added:

“Thank you to the generous help of the Australian people and supporters of Act for Peace that will help save thousands of lives in this difficult time.”

With your help, we will continue to support CWSA as they create a safe place to belong for Afghan people uprooted by conflict and disaster.

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