Concern’s emergency response reaches thousands of people in Afghanistan as winter approaches

October 26, 2021

Concern Worldwide is rolling out a major distribution of food, household goods, income supports, and education materials to help over 9,000 people in Afghanistan, ahead of the arrival of severe winter weather in the coming weeks.

The scale of the humanitarian needs in Afghanistan is daunting. “Even before the recent unprecedented change in context across the country, 18.4 million people were depending on humanitarian assistance,” Concern CEO Dominic MacSorley said. “More than one third of the population is facing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity. On top of this, winter is closing in and people will struggle to stay warm if not assisted.”

After four decades of war, more than three million people have been forced to leave their homes to flee conflict and are internally displaced. Afghanistan is also experiencing widespread drought, with more than 40% of crops lost as a result this year.

Concern’s team on the ground in the north and north east of the country are focusing on addressing a number of key needs.  In recent months this has included:

  • Distributing non-food items such as cooking utensils, solar lamps, laundry and hand soap, and blankets to families.
  • Distributing chickens, food for the chickens and hencoop construction materials to families to help provide both food and income.
  • Cash-for-work programs are being used to provide income supports for families, strengthen local flood protection measures, and expand land stabilization program. This work includes the construction of 1,850 trenches, 14 terraces, three reservoirs and dams as well as the planting of fruit trees.
  • Distributing education materials including pens, textbooks, pencils, textbooks, and bags to children in community-based education programs and to adult literacy students.

“The scale of this humanitarian response is only possible because of the generous response by the public to the emergency appeal we launched in September,” Mr. MacSorley said.

The challenges that lie ahead in the coming months are considerable as the severe winter weather arrives. “In Badakhshan province alone, 55 percent of the population are experiencing either crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity, meaning that many people cannot feed themselves and are resorting to negative coping mechanisms such as selling assets to buy food,” Mr MacSorley noted.

Assessments conducted by Concern’s teams in its areas of operations in the north east of the country in recent weeks found that almost 8,000 vulnerable people were in need of humanitarian assistance.

Concern has worked in Afghanistan for the last 23 years and has an experienced team on the ground. Since August 2021, this team has been working tirelessly to ensure its staff, both male and female, can work safely in this changing context.

Alongside the humanitarian response, Concern continues to respond to longer-term development needs, through education for primary school age boys and girls and by strengthening livelihoods for very poor and vulnerable people.

Concern continues to support the women of Afghanistan through a new programme launched in April 2021 which seeks to advance women’s economic empowerment and address poverty through agri-business development in dairy, saffron, almond, fruit and vegetables.

Click here to donate to Concern’s Afghanistan emergency response.

Media Contact: Candance Patel-Taylor, (US) Director of Communications at [email protected] or 1-312-690-3793.