Appeal to help Afghan children raises almost £10m in one day

Charities will use funds to respond to humanitarian and social issues affecting Afghans

A woman with her children in Kabul on December 16. AFP

An appeal to raise money for children in Afghanistan has raised £9.5 million ($12.6m) on the first day.

The Disasters Emergency Committee Afghanistan Crisis Appeal will raise funds for member charities to urgently respond to conflict, economic collapse, drought, famine and Covid-19 in the country.

Actress Gillian Anderson, known for playing Margaret Thatcher in The Crown, is among the high-profile supporters of the campaign as appeals were broadcast on television on Wednesday.

Donations from the public will be matched pound-for-pound by the UK government, up to a total of £10m.

“Currently, women and girls in Afghanistan are going through pregnancy and labour in unimaginable conditions without a home or enough food to eat, and with the healthcare system falling apart," Anderson said.

“Hospitals are having to close due to a lack of supplies and medics. Newborn babies are already dying from malnutrition.

“DEC member charities are working on the ground in Afghanistan to help. Please donate what you can to give lifesaving help this winter.”

DEC charities, including the International Rescue Committee UK, British Red Cross, Save the Children and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, say fast action is needed to help the eight million people at risk of starvation over winter.

A million children under the age of 5 are at risk of dying over the next three months, they say.

“We are extremely grateful for the huge generosity of everyone in the UK who has donated," said DEC’s chief executive, Saleh Saeed.

“We also thank the UK government who will match pound for pound the first £10m donated by the British people, as well as our broadcast partners for having aired the appeal, reaching millions of viewers and listeners.

“The situation in Afghanistan is beyond horrific. We can’t just sit back and watch. If we don’t act now, many lives could be lost as the harsh winter sets in, with children among those most vulnerable.

“DEC charities are already on the ground, scaling up their operations to reach the people most in need. We urge people to continue donating.”

British 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.”

Updated: December 16th 2021, 11:02 PM