Since the Taliban forcibly took power in Afghanistan in August 2021, the humanitarian crisis in the country has become one of the world’s most severe.
There are 24.4 million people in Afghanistan who need urgent humanitarian assistance due to economic collapse, political instability and long-term drought, and the country is now facing winter again, after brutally cold conditions last year withered crops and created a hunger crisis.
It is estimated that 97 per cent of the population are being pushed into extreme poverty, with two-thirds of households finding it difficult to meet basic food and non-food needs.
This is all before two devastating earthquakes struck the Herat Province on 7 and 11 October.
The earthquakes have resulted in over 2,000 deaths, with thousands more injured and many displaced.
With buildings damaged and destroyed, and hospitals overwhelmed, this natural disaster has compounding decades of crises in Afghanistan.
Scarce resources are coming under even more pressure, so Caritas Australia is supporting partners on the ground as they respond to the urgent need for emergency shelters, clean water, medical supplies, and food and other essentials.
Long-term support is also being offered outside of the earthquake response, to help address the ongoing threat of starvation.
This support includes providing emergency cash assistance to families living in the most drought-affected villages so they can purchase food rations and seeds to plant crops. Training sessions on simple, low-cost livestock-management practices are also hoped to help reduce disease, improve livestock health and increase milk production so families can rely less on external sources of food.
Additionally, education, care and assistance are being offered through community-based schools in rural Afghanistan to stem the negative impact of educational disruptions and school closures on the education of children, and especially girls.
Without urgent action, the current humanitarian crisis could lead to even more deaths than were seen during the war.
To support Caritas Australia’s Afghanistan Earthquake Appeal, visit www.caritas.org.au/afghanistan or call 1800 024 413 toll free.
Banner image: A boy cries near the debris of a home in the aftermath of an earthquake in Herat, Afghanistan, on 8 October. More than 2,000 people have died after the magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck western Afghanistan, the Taliban said on 9 October, as the nation reels from another quake at a time of deep economic crisis. (Photo courtesy OSV News/Reuters.)
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