Aid agencies in the UK have launched a joint fundraising appeal to raise money for children in Afghanistan, who are “at risk of dying this winter”.
The International Rescue Committee UK, British Red Cross, Save The Children and The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) have teamed up to form the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Afghanistan Crisis Appeal, which will raise money to urgently respond to the emergency in Afghanistan.
They are seeking to respond to conflict, economic collapse, drought, famine and COVID-19 in the country.
DEC charities say “fast” action is needed to help the eight million children, who are at risk of starvation over the winter months.
The group said a million children under five are at risk of dying over the next three months and last month, refugees in the UK warned of a “human catastrophe” in Afghanistan.
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The appeal will be broadcast on TV and radio from 15 December and will fund DEC charities to provide emergency food and nutrition support for children, support for healthcare facilities, provide winter kits to help families stay warm, supply clean drinking water and protect women and girls.
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Public donations will be matched by the UK government, up to a total of £10m.
Saleh Saeed, DEC chief executive, said: “We can’t just sit back and let that happen. We must act fast to reach them with the food they so badly need.
“Our members are on the ground and already helping but we urgently need to scale this work up to reach many more in need. People are starving – eight million are on the brink of famine.”
Tufail Hussain, UK director of Islamic Relief, said that families are sending children out for almost 14 hours to find food or money.
“We just need the support of the generous British public to be able to reach as many as possible before the winter sets in. We have to act now to save lives,” he said.
The DEC said that a £10 donation can provide treatment to a child suffering from malnutrition for three weeks and £20 can feed a family for a week.
A donation of up to £100 could provide emergency food to a family for three months.
Maryann Horne, of the British Red Cross, said: “There’s a sense of desperation today with no light at the end of the tunnel.
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“This is no longer about making things better, this is about saving lives and being able to reach those who most need it in time before the winter sets in and before it’s too late.”
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To make a donation to the DEC Afghanistan Crisis Appeal, visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610 or text SUPPORT to 70150 to donate £10.
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