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Afghans facing a harsh winter without food

Afghanistan is plunged further into crisis as reports show half of Afghans do not have enough food.

Rachael Adams | 17 Dec 2021

Credit: Tearfund Partner

In Afghanistan, as winter sets in, temperatures across the country are set to plummet to as little as -20°C. Surveys conducted by the United Nations have found that, due to the conflict, around 1.6 million Afghans are living in tents and temporary shelters. Our local partners are doing everything they can to support them. Here are some stories from the frontline and how you can pray for this emergency. 

Muhanned’s story

Muhanned* is a father of three children. In his village, people are used to supporting each other through the tough times. But now, everyone finds themselves in a similar state of despair.

‘Drought, rise in prices and unemployment has affected all people,’ he shares. ‘How can I expect help from people when oil, rice and wheat are at a price that no one can afford?  

‘We are not living like normal humans. How will life go on in a family without bread, clothes, fuel, and less than 80 pence per week?’

Every night, Muhannad and his wife have to listen to the cries of their hungry children. More than 3 million children like theirs are at risk from acute malnutrition.

‘I do not know what to do,’ says Muhannad. ‘How can I protect my innocent children this winter?’ 

Sumayya’s story

Sumayya* was already struggling to feed her family before the change of government came into power. Five years ago, her husband was diagnosed with cancer. All of their savings were spent on medical costs, and then he passed away. Their neighbours paid for the funeral.

Since then, Sumayya has been doing her best to provide for her family. But it is challenging, as a widow and a woman, to find work. 

‘I have no work or income except that I borrow wool from the shops and turn them into yarn,’ shares Sumayya.  ‘In return I receive two kilos of rice and four kilos of wheat. I give the food to my children, so that they do not die due to hunger, but it is not a stable opportunity – wool is not always available.’

Sumayya has also been forced to withdraw her children from school – it is a luxury the family can no longer afford, especially with the rise in living costs.

‘The price of goods, especially food, is rising every day,’ explains Sumayya.

‘I am afraid worrying too much may eventually make me ill, and my children – who are fatherless – will become motherless too.’

Image credit: Tearfund Partner

The need is great

Tearfund’s local partners are providing life-saving food packages to families like Muhanned’s and Sumayya’s. They are also set to distribute winter kits shortly, which include blankets, to help families stay warm through the harsh winter.

The conditions our local partners are working in remain challenging due to the conflict in the country. 

‘The need is great,’ shares Corine Verdoold, who oversees Tearfund’s work in Afghanistan. ‘The country is in the midst of a catastrophic food shortage – half of the population doesn’t have enough to eat. 

‘Thank you for continuing to pray – and also to those who have generously given – to support the people of Afghanistan. It is making a difference in this crisis.’

Pray with us

  • Pray for provision of food this winter for families, like Muhanned’s and Sumayya’s, who are struggling. Pray for healing for those who have become ill due to hunger and comfort for those who are afraid.
  • Ask God to resolve the problems in Afghanistan that are leading to the rising costs of everyday items, so that even more people are not pushed further into poverty.
  • Pray for strength, energy and resources for our partners in Afghanistan as they navigate reaching people in need while the country remains in conflict.

*Names changed to protect identities

  Rachael Adams


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