How you can help Afghans in crisis
On 10 August, the United States intelligence warned that the Afghanistan government will collapse in 30 to 90 days and the Taliban could take control.
Five days later, Kabul fell, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled, and Washington witnessed another 1975 Saigon-like situation. The nation which had only recently started showing signs of recovery from the destruction of a 20-year-long war returned to the dark times it had left behind.
Pictures and videos emerging from Afghanistan, especially the capital city, are devastating and heartbreaking.
Inside a US transport taking off from Kabul. Extraordinary. pic.twitter.com/rAAeFb2QQb
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) August 16, 2021
Thousands were also seen jostling for space in the aircrafts that would take them out of the country. Many tried to climb a ladder connected to the side of a passenger boarding bridge to board a parked aircraft. But perhaps the most bone-chilling was the sight of helpless people hanging on to dear life from the landing gear of a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster II as it took off.
— Ahmer Khan (@ahmermkhan) August 16, 2021
At the highest risk in the country are women. Between 1996 and 2001, when the Taliban had complete control over the country, Afghan women were forced to wear burqas and denied education. Stoning and public executions were common for violating the Taliban’s strict codes, including adultery and theft. Around a month before the Taliban took control of Kabul, the group issued a statement instructing local religious leaders to find girls belonging to a certain age group to be married to its men.
How to help Afghans
According to the International Organization for Migration, around 4 million people were displaced in Afghanistan in 2020 alone. The figure which stood at 1.2 million in 2016 was half a million in 2013. While the COVID-19 pandemic and the drought worsened the situation, the return of the Taliban hastened the refugee crisis.
Calls to provide refuge to Afghans are growing in the West as well as Asian nations, including Singapore. The need of the hour is to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis enfolding in Afghanistan and urge others to support these refugees.
If you’d like to lend a helping hand, these are the organisations that you can look into that are trying to make lives better for Afghans.
Women for Women International
An emergency campaign has been launched to help Afghan women. The group is raising US$ 500,000 in donations and says that a generous donor will help match up to the amount by contributing dollar for dollar. The organisation also says that its team in Afghanistan is monitoring the developing situation.
London-based Afghanaid said on its official site that it is currently responding with emergency assistance to families who have lost their homes and livelihoods. It is raising donations to support its cause.
Save the Children
The group states that nearly 10 million children need help in Afghanistan immediately. According to the group, around 80,000 children have been displaced in the last two months. It also says that though the group is doing all it can to help, some areas are inaccessible.
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Underlining the grave risk to those who helped the US in Afghanistan, the group says that around 550,000 people, of whom 80 percent are women and children, have been displaced this year. Additionally, 18 million people require humanitarian aid.
Besides donations, the IRC has also requested people to email the White House and urge President Biden to act immediately to ensure an orderly evacuation of Afghans who helped the US besides helping the millions in need of aid. It also requests its followers on social media to spread awareness about the crisis.
International Committee of the Red Cross
In a Twitter post on 16 August, the ICRC said, “We are committed to supporting the people of #Afghanistan. The humanitarian needs are huge from weeks of heavy fighting. Thousands were injured, while hospitals were damaged or destroyed. We will not reduce our presence. We have worked here for 30 years. We will not stop now.”
In a statement on 10 August, the international organisation said that it has treated 4,042 patients wounded by weapons since 1 August in intense fighting in several areas of Afghanistan.
This story first appeared in Lifestyle Asia India.
(Hero and featured image credit: Afghanaid)