Kabul, Afghanistan, 22 May 2023 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) announces the successful conclusion of a vital partnership with the European Union (EU) to respond to the escalating crisis in Afghanistan and provide support to the most at-risk Afghan families. The collaboration aims to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in the country, which has reached unprecedented levels since the recent shift in power.
Since August 2021, the country has experienced an unparalleled economic collapse. The devastating consequences have fallen squarely on the shoulders of ordinary Afghans, who previously held jobs and were self-sufficient but are now reliant on humanitarian assistance.
Despite the numerous challenges encountered during the implementation of the EU-funded project, launched in 2021, the IRC has remained committed to staying in Afghanistan and delivering vital assistance.
Throughout the project period, the IRC faced operational difficulties due to ongoing instability in Afghanistan. Part of the operations were temporarily paused to assess the situation and ensure the safety of our staff and clients. Nevertheless, thanks to the EU's total contribution of €8,300,000, the IRC successfully reached more than 255,000 clients, providing the necessary assistance to help them respond to ongoing shocks and build resilience.
The IRC has adhered to the highest standards, following the EU guidelines, and utilising assessment tools and client selection processes endorsed by relevant clusters. Coordination with key stakeholders, such as the Education, Health, Nutrition, and Protection clusters, as well as the Humanitarian Coordination Team, has been strengthened during the project. The IRC could maintain continuous communication and coordination with the EU teams at both the field and headquarters levels to provide regular updates on project progress, challenges, and adaptations.
As an organisation deeply rooted in Afghanistan, the IRC's commitment to the country remains steadfast. With a team of over 8,500 staff, 99% of whom are Afghan nationals, including over 40% women, we possess the local expertise and decades-long presence necessary to operate effectively across communities in Afghanistan. Our priority programming encompasses health, safe healing and learning spaces, education, livelihoods, small business support (particularly in agriculture), and emergency response, including cash assistance, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene activities, and family support programming.
Salma Ben Aissa, IRC Afghanistan Director, said:
"Afghanistan now faces the largest-ever humanitarian appeal in history, necessitating a staggering €4.13 billion in aid. This amount is four times the requirements at the beginning of 2021, surpassing the needs of both Syria and Yemen. The current crisis, if left unaddressed, poses a severe threat, potentially leading to more casualties than the twenty years of war that preceded it. We are grateful for this crucial partnership with the European Union. As the situation in Afghanistan remains dire, we urge the European Union to continue its support and stand with us in our mission to save lives and rebuild communities. Together, we can make a significant impact and bring hope to those who need it the most."