Some of Scotland’s biggest humanitarian charities have launched an urgent fundraising appeal to help millions of people at risk of starvation in Afghanistan this winter.
Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Scotland has set up the Afghanistan Crisis Appeal to support about eight million people who are facing a famine crisis worsened by long-term conflict, severe drought and the pandemic.
The charity, which brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently, said three million children under five are predicted to suffer acute malnutrition over the next three months, and hospitals are already struggling to treat “shockingly” malnourished mothers and children due to shortages of medicines and supplies.
Nadeem Baqir, of Islamic Relief Scotland and the DEC Scotland spokesman for this appeal, said: “The situation in Afghanistan is now beyond horrific.
“A million children are at risk of dying this winter and we must act fast to reach them and provide food.
“Our members charities are already helping but we really need a huge injection of funding to tackle the scale of the problem.
“People are starving, eight million are on the brink of famine, 22 million people – more than half the country – face severe food shortages.
“I am urging everyone to donate whatever they can to support this vital appeal.”
DEC said the money will help the charity and its partners provide emergency food and nutrition support for children, medical supplies, basic items like blankets to help displaced families stay warm, supply clean drinking water and offer protection for women and girls.
The appeal has been given an early boost with news that the Scottish Government will be contributing an additional £240,000 to the relief effort through its Humanitarian Emergency Fund.
This is on top of funds already released to support humanitarian action earlier this month.
Scottish Government minister for international development, Jenny Gilruth, said: “We know that millions are on the brink of famine, and the country is still suffering from the impacts of conflict, drought, the ongoing pandemic and economic disruption.
“We urge those who can to contribute to this appeal to avert a catastrophe.”
The appeal is also being supported by the UK Government through its Aid Match scheme which will match UK donations pound-for-pound up to £10m.
UK foreign secretary Liz Truss said: “The British people have shown incredible generosity and the UK is determined to do all we can for the people of Afghanistan.
“We have doubled our aid this year to save lives, protect women and girls and support stability in the region.”
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