INDEPENDENT NEWS

Winter Is Coming: Afghanistan Faces Multiple Crises

Published: Mon 29 Nov 2021 08:34 AM
ActionStation, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, Christian World Service, Oxfam Aotearoa and World Vision New Zealand say that while Afghanistan faces chronic poverty, persistent droughts, war, the Covid-19 pandemic and an economic crisis, winter is about to bring a whole new set of challenges:
“Sadly, millions of people across the entire country are going hungry, and mothers are skipping meals so their children won’t starve. More and more people are finding themselves without a job and in need of urgent help. People are selling everything they own to buy food for their families. With winter about to settle in, this unimaginable situation is only going to get worse.”
In August this year, these five organisations along with 55 others, came together to call on the New Zealand Government to act for Afghanistan due to the ongoing crises the country has been facing. Now, the organisations call the government to do more:
“We thank the government for their efforts so far, but more must be done urgently. We cannot leave people stranded in such a catastrophic situation. Even before the events of 15 August, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan was one of the worst in the world.
“We continue to ask the government to urgently increase humanitarian and development support, and to make sure safe pathways for relocation and resettlement are established for Afghan nationals to Aotearoa. We ask the government to establish formal relationships with the Afghan community here in Aotearoa to liaise and consult meaningfully. We ask that the New Zealand government lead concrete international efforts to make sure Afghan women and girls are listened to and have their rights protected, including to education.
“Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan who already face enormous challenges. Discrimination and inequality have put women and girls at increased risk of contracting the virus, and at the same time, limit their ability to get information and vital services like health care, including Covid-19 testing and treatment.”
So far, the New Zealand government has contributed $6 million in humanitarian aid and issued visas for resettlement; however, the group said the government’s response had been the bare minimum:
“Let us not forget the hundreds of millions of dollars the New Zealand Government spent on the military campaign in Afghanistan over the last two decades. The government has an obligation to do more and time is running out for many in Afghanistan. Winter will be harsh and it starts next week.”
See the latest situation report by OCHA Afghanistan in collaboration with humanitarian partners via clusters: https://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/afghanistan-icct-real-time-response-overview-situation-report-22-november-2021

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