Fears rise among displaced families as cold waves grip Afghanistan

Fears rise among displaced families as cold waves grip Afghanistan

“A few years ago I lost a leg in an accident, but this did not stop me from supporting my family of five. I worked as a peddler, selling toys and basic grocery items in the streets of Marbege1. I made sure all my three daughters, aged between 8 and 12 years, went to the madrassaⁱ in our village to gain some sort of education as there was no private or government school anywhere near,” shared 65 year old, Osman.

“I earned AFN 1000 (Approx. USD 11) through my daily business every month but this did not fulfil the needs of my family. The little livestock I owned (five goats), provided us milk, which my wife used to make butter and yogurt for household consumption. We were planning to sell one goat end of the summer season which would have provided relief for a month or two in the difficult winter season.”

However, nature had other plans for Osman and his family. Marbege was hit hard by the June earthquake, having devastating impact on the little village and its residents. Osman lost his home and all his possessions. “I lost my home as well as the cattle that provided us with food. I lost everything in one night. We are now living in a tent without food or other essentials. I am my family’s sole earner. And seeing my children and wife famished without eating a single meal a day breaks my heart.”

With a large population of Afghanistan’s Paktika and Khost provinces affected, a substantial and understandable drop in the people’s purchasing power in the region was seen. Osman’s daily livelihood depended solely on the local market and its buying power and with that adversely affected, he struggled to sell products and make ends meet as a peddler. “Due to my physical condition, I am unable to take up other labour-intensive jobs. And people are not buying as much as they used to. This concerns me because we have no other source of income. I do not have anything to rebuild my house with or keep my family warm as winter approaches.”

Luckily, some of Osman’s worries lessened as he received cash assistance of USD 80 per month for three months under Community World Service Asia and UMCOR’s emergency relief project. “The assistance came to me when I needed it most. My wife and I were able to buy basic groceries and put food on the table for our children three times a day. In their daily meals, my children are now eating meat, rice, flour, potatoes, fresh fruits, and milk.”

1. Barmal district, Paktika province