HIA relaunched its humanitarian programme in Afghanistan
Afghanistan is currently experiencing one of the biggest humanitarian disasters in its history. More than 40 years of war, drastic political changes in recent months, natural disasters, poverty, drought and pandemic have pushed a large part of the country’s population close to famine. The escalation of the crisis has further increased the needs and made it more difficult to provide humanitarian aid. According to the latest estimates, 22.8 million people – more than half of Afghanistan’s population – face acute food insecurity. Of these, 8.7 million people are close to total hunger or face daily starvation. Another serious problem is the almost total loss of employment opportunities. 7 out of 10 families borrow food, and in desperation, more and more are forced to sell their furniture, household equipment and even their organs and children to avoid starvation.
After temporarily suspending its 20-years’ operations in Afghanistan due to political events last year, Hungarian Interchurch Aid have recently launched its largest and most complex humanitarian programme ever in the Central Asian country supported by the World Food Programme (WFP), Hungary Helps Programme and other international partners. Currently, the organization is distributing 15,000 tonnes, or more than 1,500 truckloads, of basic food and providing a livelihood income to 77,000 people. In addition to providing food, Hungarian Interchurch Aid also provides assistance to people involved in agricultural production and aims to restart educational opportunities. The ongoing programmes provide immediate and tangible assistance to more than 250,000 people, making a significant contribution to the fight against hunger. The organization works primarily with international funds, but private donors can also join the effort by making a donation at www.segelyszervezet.hu.
HIA Programme Manager in Afghanistan, Gábor Bálint, recently returned from Afghanistan. As he said, there is hunger and unemployment, and the severe conditions are increased by the cold winter weather. He cited the picture of a widow with five children who has been trying to support her family by baking bread since the death of her soldier husband. While she bakes up to 80 loaves a day, her ‘big’ children, aged 9 and 11, collect cardboard and rubbish from the street for fuel. The Hungarian humanitarian organization has a local staff of more than 200 local people to carry out its large-scale projects, providing them with jobs and income. He added: “We have saved lives, the lives of families with 6-12 members, including many children. Our programme also covers an entire province, helping all those in need to survive. It is important to solve the crisis locally, avoiding the need for mass displacement.”