Aid critical as Afghanistan faces escalating humanitarian crises

Afghan Red Crescent is providing ongoing relief, healthcare and other services in drought-affected areas and in every province of Afghanistan.

Afghan Red Crescent is providing ongoing relief, healthcare and other services in drought-affected areas and in every province of Afghanistan.

Photo: Afghan Red Crescent/Meer Abdulah

Kuala Lumpur, Kabul, Geneva, 7 September 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling for urgent action as millions of Afghans face colossal humanitarian needs wrought by a combination of crises: one of the country’s worst ever droughts, acute food shortages, a fractured health system and the devastation of COVID-19.

Some 18 million Afghans – half the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance as severe drought compounds hardships caused by years of conflict and the pandemic. Without food or income, tens-of-thousands of families have left their homes, seeking food and shelter in urban areas where some are staying in relief camps.

Dr Mohammad Nabi Burhan, Acting Secretary General of Afghan Red Crescent, said:

“After living through decades of hardships, Afghans now face the ravages of a climate crisis, a global pandemic and internal displacement. Urgent international action is needed to support millions of people with the necessities of life through the coming months and Afghanistan’s harsh winter.”

“Red Crescent teams are ramping up efforts across the country, providing emergency relief, cash grants and basic health care, but we know that more support is needed to enable families to plant crops, re-establish livelihoods and build a brighter future.”

Afghan Red Crescent is providing support in some of the hardest hit provinces, including relief supplies to families suffering food shortages and loss of income. Red Crescent is also providing families who have lost their livelihoods due to the drought with cash grants to buy food supplies, to plant drought-resistant food crops and protect their livestock. Health clinics, including mobile health teams, operating across rural Afghanistan, are providing critical healthcare.

As part of this ongoing support, the IFRC is scaling up its appeal to more than 36 million Swiss francs to support the Afghan Red Crescent to deliver emergency relief and recovery assistance to 560,000 people in 16 provinces worst affected by drought and compounding conflict-induced displacement.

Necephor Mghendi, IFRC’s Head of Delegation for Afghanistan, said:

“Severe drought, food insecurity, and a fragile health system struggling to stay afloat with devastating waves of COVID-19 have all been compounded by recent events and require urgent international action more than ever.”

“It’s vital we look to the future and support the people of Afghanistan as they work hard to heal and recover after 40 years of conflict."

“IFRC appeal funds will be used to help with sustainable water supplies, revitalising drought-resistant crops and diminished livestock, while supporting income generation for those most at risk, including women and the elderly.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

In Kuala Lumpur: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, antony.balmain@ifrc.org

In Melbourne: Joe Cropp, +61 (0) 491 743 089, joe.cropp@ifrc.org

In Geneva: Ann Vaessen, +41 79 405 77 50, ann.vaessen@ifrc.org