Humanitarian aid in Afghanistan

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement will continue to help people in Afghanistan affected by conflict, large-scale hunger and suffering, as well as people who have left their homes.

Afghanistan is in crisis and there is huge humanitarian need

A combination of disasters - drought, floods, conflict and Covid-19 have led to widespread displacement with more than 18 million people in need of aid.

With over 150 clinics and health centres, including 36 mobile health teams on the ground in all 34 provinces in Afghanistan, t
he Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement have been providing humanitarian support in Afghanistan for decades. We won't stop now.

If you have been affected, need support, would like to donate or give support, we may be able to help.

Supporting newly arrived Afghan people

We have now supported over 15,300 people arriving from Afghanistan to airports across the UK, and continue to do so.

British Red Cross staff and volunteers are on the ground welcoming people at airports, providing emotional support, warm clothing, soap, nappies, baby bottles, mobility aids and other essentials. 

In addition, we are providing people with information and emotional support, and checking on their wellbeing given the likely traumas they have come from. We will continue to advocate for their needs, throughout the crisis.

Staff and volunteers have also welcomed nearly 7,000 people from Afghanistan at hotels across the UK, and will continue to provide ongoing support.

Read more about how we're supporting people here.

How to support refugees

British Red Cross volunteers help thousands of refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants every year enabling people to draw upon their own strengths to withstand crisis and rebuild their lives.

To support all refugees you can:

We are currently experiencing an influx of virtual gift and volunteer enquiries. If there are no items, or volunteer opportunities available in your area, please do check back again.

What is happening in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan is in crisis and there is a huge humanitarian need.

  • Weeks of heavy fighting in cities like Kandahar, Herat, and Lashkar Gahar have left thousands injured.
  • Homes, hospitals and critical infrastructure like water and electricity systems have been destroyed.
  • Covid-19 cases are spiralling, with 50 per cent of tests proving positive.
  • Around a third of Afghanistan’s population (11 million people) don’t have enough food.

Donating to Afghanistan

With the Red Cross and Red Crescent network of staff and volunteers, we're ready to support families through the multiple crises they're facing.

We're asking the British public to help us meet people's basic needs. Your money can provide food, medical supplies, shelter and water.
Richard Blewitt, Executive Director, International, British Red Cross

Right now, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is supporting hospitals and medical facilities, helping people get vital treatment, including in isolated rural areas.

How will my donation be used?

Your donation will help us to deliver food, medical supplies, water and shelter, and will help us to support the hundreds of families currently arriving in the UK from Afghanistan.

Our work supporting the Afghan families who are arriving at airports in the UK is funded separately. But the money raised through our Miles for Refugees event will go towards supporting people who arrive and need our services longer term. 

This is how your donation could help:

  • £10 could provide food to those in Afghanistan going hungry
  • £25 could provide clean water to severely affected families
  • £50 could provide urgent medical care to those in need
  • £100 could provide cash based assistance to those who have been displaced from their homes.
Internally displaced Afghan families, who fled from Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan province, sit in front of their temporary tents at Sara-e-Shamali in Kabul on August 11, 2021.

At this point, we are not looking for donations of clothes or other items for Afghan people from the public.

How are the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement helping people in Afghanistan?

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is working on the ground across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan, reaching the people who need us most.

We run over 150 health centres and clinics, including 36 mobile health teams who cover the entire country. This life-saving medical support has become even more critical now, after weeks of heavy fighting has left thousands injured and hospitals damaged, in a region devastated by extreme drought and flash flooding.
Richard Blewitt, Executive Director, International, British Red Cross

Our Covid-19 hospital in Kabul has also treated thousands of patients and remains operational as virus cases spiral, and our teams are distributing essentials items, like food, water and cash to families.

Find out more about our work and how you can help.

Are the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement helping displaced Afghans across the border?

There has been significant internal displacement across Afghanistan. Reports of significant increases of people crossing the border are yet to be confirmed.  

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is monitoring the situation, working closely with Red Cross and Red Crescent colleagues in the region to establish what response is needed.

Are Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers safe?

The Red Cross and Red Crescent is recognised for its neutrality, impartiality and independence. This has allowed us to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan for decades as well as in the UK through support to refugee programmes. We will not stop now.

Our principles have allowed the Red Crescent to gain access to help people living in isolated areas. As a local agency, Red Crescent staff and volunteers are working in every province across the country, with direct access to support communities with ongoing relief operations and health services.

Ongoing support in Afghanistan

The Red Cross and Red Crescent has been providing humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan for decades as well as in the UK through support to refugee programmes. We will not stop now.

People across Afghanistan are very resilient after four decades of conflict. But repeated climate and weather-related disasters coupled with Covid-19 are making it more difficult to bounce back and cope. 

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is supporting agriculture, income-generation schemes, making provisions for longer-term food needs, and protecting people from Covid-19 in Afghanistan, including through vaccinations.

Families affected by drought

Afghanistan now has the second-highest number of people facing serious food shortages in the world.

More than three million livestock are also in danger of death from lack of food and water, which will also lead to more hunger among people.

On top of this, flash floods in May and July led to deaths, injuries and damage to infrastructure including roads, irrigation systems and farmland. This will certainly make the situation worse.

The Afghan Red Crescent plan to help 40,000 families affected by drought with emergency food and information about hygiene and staying healthy. They also plan to support 20,000 families who depend on agriculture and livestock to keep their farms and animals going.

Volunteers from the Afghan Red Crescent support a young family.

Keeping medical care going

Through 150 health teams around the country, the Red Crescent has been teaching people about Covid-19, screening patients, giving vaccines and referring people for treatment. In the country’s capital, Kabul, they also run a 50-bed Covid hospital.

This is backed up by awareness raising about the coronavirus, and giving vaccines in some of the isolated rural areas.