As Afghanistan Faces A Humanitarian Crisis, Here’s How Canadians Can Help

Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images.
Tens of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan have now fled their homes after Taliban fighters seized control of major towns across the country, culminating in the occupation of the capital, Kabul, on 15th August. The actions come just weeks after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan for the first time in 20 years.
Over the last 48 hours, desperate scenes from Kabul airport show scores of people trying to leave the country, which the BBC reports has led to the deaths of five people, including three who tried to hang on to the underside of an aircraft. President Ashraf Ghani has also fled, with the Taliban reportedly taking full control of the country’s security and traffic.
In response, the federal government has set up a program to resettle 20,000 refugees who supported Canadian military operations against the Taliban. Many former interpreters, cultural advisors and their families are still stuck in the country and fear for their lives. There is also growing anger over the slowness of Canada’s response and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing criticism for holding an election at this crucial point in time. 
With those in Kabul and the surrounding areas now left without homes, food, water or vital supplies, Afghanistan needs help more than ever before. Here are a few ways to directly make an impact.
Refugees arriving in Canada need extra help getting settled. Supportive social networks and service organizations help refugees find housing, jobs, improve their language skills, receive emotional support, and get involved in the community. If you’d like to volunteer or donate (clothing, furniture, or money) email to connect with Canadian refugee resettlement agencies providing support to Afghan refugees or contact a local service provider organization.
In recent weeks, WAW has been organizing refuge, resources and aid for both families and staff who are being forced to leave their homes in Afghanistan. As an organization, they provide education and protection to Afghani women and children across multiple countries. WAW's current focus is to provide help for displaced mothers and children, with a recent statement saying: "We are committed to continue defending the women, children, families, and staff who rely on us."
For over 20 years, Islamic Relief has been one of the few aid agencies working in Afghanistan during military incursions and today, they are on the ground distributing food, water, and hygiene products to those who have been displaced. The people of Afghanistan rely on rain-fed agriculture, livestock, and natural pastures as their source of livelihood, and the current drought has left 14 million people in a food crisis.
Currently, the ICRC has a team of 1,800 international and national staff providing assistance to those in Afghanistan. The organization is partnering with the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) to evacuate injured people and transport the bodies of those who have lost their lives in the conflict. According to the ICRC's website: "Since 1 August, 4,042 patients wounded by weapons have been treated at 15 ICRC-supported health facilities, an indication of the intensity of the recent violence."
Afghanaid is calling for support for families who have been affected by the conflict. According to the website, the organization is working to reopen offices in order to support rural communities, alongside offering wider support to families throughout the country. Donations are currently being spent on providing financial support, kitchen kits, hygiene kits, essential housing items and emergency food parcels.
Primarily working to establish small, craft-based businesses across the Middle East, Turquoise Mountain is currently fundraising to help those caught in the conflict locally in Afghanistan. According to the organization, they are using their established community networks to distribute financial aid to those in need, including thousands of students, families, staff and artisans.
Afghan journalists are under extreme threat during the Taliban takeover. International Media Support (IMS) is a non-profit that protects local media in countries affected by armed conflict and political transition. IMS is working with the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee to provide reporters with shelters and safehouses. Your donation will help keep independent media outlets running.  

And, of course, use your voice

Sign petitions and amplify the message of Afghan activists.
This story was originally published on Refinery29 UK.

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