Afghanistan is heading towards a major humanitarian crisis. Hospitals across the country are filling up with children suffering from acute malnutrition. There is food in the markets following harvest but there are few buyers due to the cash crisis. People have switched to rice and beans to sustain their families and have to buy in small quantities. Meanwhile the hospitals and clinics are running short on medicines.
The UN estimates nearly 23 million people are at risk of starvation.
The fight for control in Afghanistan over the summer killed thousands and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. As winter approaches, the situation is desperate. Families want to return home before the coldest weather hits but unexploded bombs, landmines and improvised devices remain a deadly threat. Humanitarian aid cannot get through when explosives block roads.
600,000 people were displaced from their homes in 2021 according to the UN.
HALO’s 3,000 Afghan staff are on the ground, working across 18 provinces to keep families safe. Our priority is to remove improvised explosive devices left behind by the renewed fighting. Uruzgan and Zabul provinces are some of the regions particular badly affected—with hundreds of families forced to flee.
To ensure people have somewhere safe to live through the winter months, UNHCR planned to build 50 permanent shelters at Tirin Kot and 50 permanent shelters in Qalat. But work could not begin whilst the ground was littered with unexploded bombs, IEDs and landmines.
Following a request for assistance, HALO’s teams set to work in October to make the area safe—clearing 16,800 square metres of ground—that’s the size of two city blocks in Manhattan. Now the explosives have been destroyed, the shelters can be built so families have a safe place to call home this winter. By working together, we can ensure aid agencies have secure access to support vulnerable communities in need of assistance.