As Afghanistan’s harsh winter continues, many are forced to choose between food...

As Afghanistan’s harsh winter continues, many are forced to choose between food and warmth

Women-headed households were prioritised under the selection criteria to get assistance.

Millions in Afghanistan continue to face hunger and starvation amid a multiyear drought and an economic crash following a change in governance in August, 2021. The onset of winter has only worsened the situation, leaving more than half of the Afghan population with insufficient food and lack of winter gear.

Project Participants line up in front of the bank to receive the cash assistance in February.

Community World Service Asia, with the support of its partners, continued assisting affected populations in Afghanistan as they entered the new year. In February 2022, distribution under one of CWSA’s humanitarian projects, supported by Act Church of Sweden, also commenced. The project provides financial assistance to 525 families to overcome immediate food insecurity and address winterization needs. A total of 505 households have so far received assistance.

A first tranche of the cash distribution initiated in the month of February, under which 525 households in Nangarhar are being provided with cash assistance to overcome challenges of winterization and food insecurity.

Each family has received the first tranche of financial assistance; USD 90 (Approx. AFN 8300) to purchase food and an additional USD 55 (Approx. AFN 5000) to buy winterization gear and equipment. Two more tranches of $90 each will be provided to families for the months of March and April. The remaining twenty families are being contacted, and will be provided assistance, as they were not present at the bank on distribution day.

Saabir[1], one of the project participants assisted under the project is a father of eight children but is physically paralysed and unable to walk. “My family and I are financially supported by my relatives and neighbours. Since they are all struggling to make ends meet themselves, they cannot always support our family. The assistance provided to me under this project will not only allow me to buy food for my family, but it will also give me a sense of relief. I want to buy some blankets and supplies for home to keep my children warm and healthy throughout the severe winters,” shared Saabir.

Saabir, a project participant, received USD 90 to help him overcome food insecurity, as well as USD 55 for winterization.

The people of Afghanistan are facing a multitude of crises, and relief organisations are finding it difficult to assist people due the scarcity of tangible cash available within the country. Community World Service Asia has been able to enter into an agreement with a private bank to distribute funds on its behalf. Project participants have been registered with the bank, and each distribution is subjected to banking verification processes before cash is distributed. One out of every three individuals in Afghanistan is currently hungry, and two million children are undernourished[2]. The Afghan people require international assistance now, more than ever.

[1] Names of main characters in the story have been changed for safety reasons.