The humanitarian hardship in Afghanistan is dramatic: around 23 million people are at risk of famine. Some 3.5 million Afghans are internally displaced, while almost as many have fled to neighbouring countries or the region at large. The already weak economy has slumped further since the Taliban seized power. Many people who used to be able to provide for themselves have lost their work, resulting in them and their families becoming dependent on assistance. At the same time, the worst drought in 30 years decimated the harvest yields and the winter was especially harsh. The tyranny of the Taliban has also contributed to the deterioration in the humanitarian situation.
A conference to facilitate vital assistance
As a result of the growing hardship experienced by people in Afghanistan, the need for humanitarian assistance has increased massively. The United Nations estimates that around 4.4 billion US dollars will be needed this year to provide the country with humanitarian support. Together with the United Nations, the UK and Qatar, Germany is therefore hosting an international donor conference today (31 March) to raise funds to help the suffering population. At the opening of the conference, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stressed:
The humanitarian crisis Afghans face is among the gravest in the world. After the worst drought in 30 years, hunger is now threatening 23 million people. […] And after years of violence and war, millions of children, women and men remain refugees in their own country. That is why the international community must step up its humanitarian support for Afghanistan. […] Therefore, Germany will provide an additional 200 million euro in humanitarian funding for people in Afghanistan. […]
Where will these funds go?
The funding will go to humanitarian organisations such as the World Food Programme or the UNHCR, which will ensure that the assistance will only be used for humanitarian purposes and does not fall into the hands of the Taliban. Many people do not have the basic necessities – food, fuel for heating, warm clothes. The funding will therefore also be used, for example, to support the work of Malteser International. For instance, last winter the organisation was able to provide more than 4000 households with food, as well as warm blankets or gas cartridges for heating. This support was only possible due to the dedication of humanitarian aid workers, who often work under difficult conditions. Foreign Minister Baerbock praised their commitment:
I applaud the courage of all humanitarian workers in Afghanistan: They are saving lives every day.
We are committed to supporting their work, because we are committed to the Afghan people.
Germany is also helping its partner organisations to meet humanitarian needs in neighbouring countries such as Iran and Pakistan.