The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has launched an emergency response in Afghanistan, commencing distribution of food and cash to displaced families. 

A recent IRC assessment of over 4,000 families in Kabul revealed that 729 households - 4,387 individuals - were unable to access food and in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Many families do not have an income and are turning to extreme measures of survival, including sending children to work and reducing the number of meals eaten per day. Afghanistan is on the brink of a major food crisis and if left without support up to one million children will suffer from acute malnutrition and could die without treatment.

This week's cash distribution will enable families in Kabul to take control of their situation and purchase necessities such as food, medicine and basic household necessities. In Afghanistan, 18.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and the IRC is also preparing to relaunch programming across the country and will deliver lifesaving aid including essential health services, protection of women and girls, direct cash assistance, and education for out-of-school children. 

Vicki Aken, IRC Afghanistan Director, said,

“Throughout the latest wave of crisis, the IRC has remained committed to the people of Afghanistan. Cash relief is vital in the prevention of hunger and hardship, and is a proven and efficient tool to deliver humanitarian aid directly to the people who need it most. This week, our teams have reached 729 displaced families in Kabul with the support they need to purchase vital supplies.

“Beset by long-term conflict, crisis and now COVID-19, financial resources, systems and infrastructure in Afghanistan are unlikely to withstand the threat of economic crisis. It is vital that the international community addresses this deterioration: as food prices skyrocket and the banking system is on the brink of collapse, household debts will mount and millions of Afghan families will be forced to go without.

“Meanwhile, the IRC is also preparing to support 105 health clinics across Afghanistan. So far, our teams have carried out assessments in 76 health facilities in Nangarhar, Paktya, Logar, Laghman, and Khost, with the intention of helping to provide vital medicines supplies in the coming weeks.”

The IRC began work in Afghanistan in 1988, and now works with thousands of villages across nine provinces, with Afghans making up more than 99% of IRC staff in the country. As Afghanistan struggles to recover from ongoing conflict and natural disasters, the IRC: works with local communities to identify, plan and manage their own development projects, provides safe learning spaces in rural areas, community based education, cash distribution provides uprooted families with tents, clean water, sanitation and other basic necessities, and helps people find livelihood opportunities as well as extensive resilience programming.   

To donate to the IRC's emergency response in Afghanistan, please click here.