Press Release
CAFOD joins DEC appeal for Afghanistan to respond to one of the world’s worst hunger crises

15 December 2021

As millions of people in Afghanistan face winter without food or shelter, CAFOD is joining forces with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to give help.

Donate to the DEC Afghanistan Crisis Appeal

More than eight million people are on the brink of famine, with a million children under the age of five at risk of dying over the next three months. Acting quickly is essential before the freezing winter sets in, with temperatures falling as low as -12 degrees centigrade. 

“A deadly combination of conflict and political turmoil, climate change and Covid has left millions of people in Afghanistan in desperate need of humanitarian aid,” said Rhea Tariq, CAFOD’s Head of Humanitarian Response. “As always, it’s the most vulnerable – women and children – who are paying the biggest price.

“With winter closing in, families have little to eat. Economic collapse and rising prices are leaving families unable to purchase fuel for heating or food and other essential supplies. Thousands who have recently fled their homes are living in makeshift shelters at high altitude, some with nothing more than the belongings they were able to carry.

“The humanitarian community will need to support the life-saving emergency work of local and national organisations inside Afghanistan.”

Drought and conflict have left more than 22 million people, over half the population, facing starvation this winter. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has sounded the alarm, warning the situation is “fast becoming the world’s largest humanitarian crisis”. Food and fuel prices have soared out of the reach of ordinary families.

The humanitarian situation has deteriorated since mid-August, when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan following the rapid withdrawal of Western forces. Frontline aid agencies inside Afghanistan, the Catholic aid agency CAFOD, and other DEC member agencies, are in a race against time to reach those in the greatest of need.

Much of the country has gone through two crippling droughts in the last four years. Families have lost their crops and livestock, forcing them to move towards towns in search of work and food.

The BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky will be broadcasting appeals on Wednesday (15 December) following the news in support of DEC fundraising. Appeals will also be broadcast on BBC and commercial radio. 

The appeal will fund DEC charities and their local partners to provide emergency food and nutrition support for children, support healthcare facilities, provide winter kits to help displaced families stay warm, supply clean drinking water and protect women and girls.  

  • £10 could provide treatment to a child suffering from malnutrition for three weeks   
  • £20 could feed a family for a week   
  • £25 could provide blankets for 5 people for the winter months   
  • £100 could provide emergency food to a family for three months   

CAFOD will be supporting Afghans who need urgent help over the coming months, with both humanitarian and longer-term support.

Our trusted partners will be providing cash assistance in some of the most drought-affected parts of the country, allowing families to buy basic food and plant their crops for next season. 

Jo Kitterick, CAFOD’s Director of Fundraising and Community Participation, said:

“At the heart of our Catholic communities across England and Wales is an amazing compassion and generosity in response to the suffering of our sisters and brothers. 

“To date the enormous response to the crisis in Afghanistan from our supporters has been humbling. Parishes and individuals have donated, fundraised and prayed for the people of Afghanistan who face extreme hunger; a testament to our commitment and willingness to put our faith into action.

“It is now critical to reach vulnerable families who have lost everything and no longer have ways of coping. Working with the Disasters Emergency Committee will help CAFOD’s local aid experts and Caritas sister agencies reach more people in need, as winter sets in.

“Our common humanity calls on us to respond to suffering. In doing so we express hope through the vital support we can deliver.”

Notes to Editor

  • For further information, broadcast media requests, photos and footage from the field and the latest briefings please contact: Laura Ouseley, +44 (0)7909 875 956 or CAFOD out-of-hours media hotline: +44 (0)7919 301 429. 
  • The DEC brings 15 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid UK, Age International, Action against Hunger, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, IRC-UK, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.
  • CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and part of Caritas International. Working with communities across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America to fight poverty and injustice. The agency works with people in need, regardless of race, gender, religion, or nationality. cafod.org.uk

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