Humanitarian aid in Afghanistan: What's happening and how to help

After a deadly earthquake struck Afghanistan, there's a desperate need to get help to thousands.  

Last updated 11 October 2023

What's happening in Afghanistan?

On 7 October, Afghanistan was struck by a deadly earthquake that killed over 2,400 and left thousands more injured and homeless. It came at a time when the country has already been ravaged by drought, famine and poverty.

The British Red Cross is calling for urgent donations after the devastating earthquake that hit close to the city of Herat.

Please support our ongoing Afghanistan Crisis Appeal.

How are the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement providing aid for people in Afghanistan?

Responding to the Afghanistan earthquake

The Afghan Red Crescent has confirmed that the destruction near Herat is much worse than initially feared, with villages flattened and people buried under the rubble. The Afghan Red Crescent's network of staff and volunteers are on the ground providing assistance across provinces affected by the earthquake. Heath teams have been deployed and non-food items are reaching those affected.

Find out more about the earthquake in Afghanistan

 A group of Afghan Red Crescent staff and volunteers stand in the wreckage of ruined buildings, talking to Afghan people affected by the Afghanistan earthquake.

Afghan Red Crescent staff and volunteers are supporting people affected by the earthquake in Afghanistan. PHOTO: IFRC Asia Pacific

Ongoing response to what's happening in Afghanistan

28.8 million people, two thirds of the population, is in need of urgent aid following four decades of conflict and drought-like conditions in Afghanistan.

We need to take urgent action.

  • Women in Afghanistan are facing the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with 638 women dying per 100,000 live births.
  • 2,300 health facilities are now facing closure, putting more lives at risk.
  • 3.5 million Afghan people have been forced to flee their homes in recent times.

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

Keeping medical care going in Afghanistan

Through 140 mobile health teams around the country, the Red Crescent and IFRC has reached 550, 947 people since autumn 2021.

They have been delivering primary healthcare and routine vaccination services in remote areas of Afghanistan. They've also been providing vital outpatient care, health education, reproductive, maternal and newborn health services, family planning, dressing and referral. 

Community outreach

A community-based health and first aid project is also being rolled out. It has so far reached 327,039 people with health education, first aid, household visits and referrals. 

In addition, a total of 1,300 water filters have been distributed in Badghis, Hirat and Jawzjan provinces to help the Afghanistan situation. 

An ICRC doctor treats a mother amd her child at a mobile health centre in Afganistan

A doctor from the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement treats a mother and child as part of a mobile health team in Afghanistan. Copyright: IFRC


We run over 140 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 heavy fighting has left thousands injured and hospitals damaged.
Richard Blewitt, Executive Director, International, British Red Cross


Donations for Afghanistan and Afghan refugees

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 can only do this with your donations to Afghanistan.

How will my donation for the Afghanistan appeal and Afghan refugees be used?

Your donation will help us to deliver food, medical supplies, water and shelter.

This is how your donation could help Afghan refugees and nationals:

  • £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.

Where can I donate clothes for Afghan refugees near me?

The British Red Cross is not currently looking for donations of clothes or items for Afghan refugees from the public. If you would like to donate clothes or find a local clothing donation collection point for Afghanistan refugees, please contact your local refugee service who will be able to help you. 

You can still help Afghan refugees and people in Afghanistan by making a donation to our Afghanistan Crisis Appeal. Donations will help us continue to provide vital aid for Afghanistan from the UK. 

How to help Afghan 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.