Asia Pacific Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Afghanistan — Feature
Bibi Gul with her family in fled the conflict in Ghor Province, Afghanistan. Photo: Afghanaid

Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund helps displaced families in Ghor survive the winter

Bibi Gul never planned to leave her home, but when conflict erupted five years ago, she and her husband took their children and fled. Now living in Feroz Koh in Ghor province, Bibi Gul found herself alone trying to support her family during the COVID-19 pandemic. “My husband became addicted to heroin and for months he could not work. Then he left, and we haven’t heard from him since. We don’t know if he is even alive,” she said.

Bibi Gul found work doing laundry and cleaning houses. “Everything we have comes from what I earn day-to-day. My monthly income is around 1,000-1,500 AFS (approximately US $13- $20) and it is not enough to provide for the essentials,” she said.

In addition to living in a new place with no support system, the many challenges displaced families face have been intensified by the effects of the pandemic. “For the last five months, we have been living in a make-shift shelter, but I don’t know how much longer the owner of the land will allow us to stay here,” she said.

Situated in the highlands of Afghanistan, Ghor has extreme weather and one of the harshest winter seasons in the country with heavy snow and biting winds. “My oldest daughter is 11 years old. She helps by collecting cartons and plastic from the street for the heater. The long winter season in Ghor is harsh and we have not been able to warm our room. I was afraid that my children would die or become very sick. I worried we would not make it through,” she said.

Afghanaid provided Bibi Gul urgently needed winter cash aid that enabled her to purchase a wood stove and wood to fuel their new heater. The assistance, funded by the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund, means people like Bibi Gul can keep their families safe and warm. It also allows them to use their money to buy food to keep their families healthy and build up financial reserves so that they are more resilient against future shocks. “I am so grateful to Afghanaid for coming to our aid. Now my children will have a warm room and I can keep them safe from illness.”

Afghanaid is a British humanitarian and development organization whose personnel have worked with millions of deprived, excluded and vulnerable families in some of the poorest and most remote communities in Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund (AHF) is one of OCHA’s country-based pooled funds (CBPFs). It was established in 2014 for swift and strategic humanitarian action in Afghanistan.