For the past three decades, millions of people across Afghanistan have suffered the devastating humanitarian consequences of armed conflict. Millions live in fear for their lives and for the future of their children.

Afghanistan remains one of the world's poorest countries. Widespread poverty and a breakdown of the country’s infrastructure have left thousands of people without access to even the most basic supplies and services. Families are in desperate need of basic assistance such as food, clean water, sanitation and health care. Small-scale natural hazards are common in Afghanistan, impacting between 250,000 to 400,000 people each year, and many residents worry about larger emergencies and disasters.

As conflict continues in Afghanistan, the humanitarian situation worsens.

Canadian Red Cross support

The Red Cross Movement maintains one of the most extensive humanitarian access capacities in Afghanistan. 

For the past 75 years the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) has been working tirelessly to bring basic vital humanitarian services to many of the hardest to reach places and has a unique role as an officially recognized disaster response organization. However, while the ARCS's established neutrality gives it the ability to provide relief both inside and outside of conflict zones, the organization could benefit from up-to-date materials, comprehensive critical disaster response tools and properly trained human resources.

Thanks to funding provided by the Government of Canada,  the Canadian Red Cross is partnering with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to help the Afghan Red Crescent Society meet goals in development and humanitarian aid in Afghanistan through a four-year disaster management capacity building project.

The Project aims to strengthen the ARCS as a disaster management organization, improving preparedness and response capabilities for the provision of emergency humanitarian aid throughout the nation. The program will start by fortifying the ARCS's institutional capacity at the National Society's headquarters before implementing the same program at seven regional offices and select provincial branch offices. In each location, the program includes a plan to establish and strengthen teams of disaster management staff and better systems and structures that will enable ARCS to deliver the best relief and response aid possible.

Other areas the program will focus on include gender focus during delivery of assistance and the expansion of ARCS's disaster response units and emergency response mobile health teams. Alongside the necessary organizational development, the ARCS will require to support these growing components in the coming years. The program will also work to enhance ARCS's cooperation with the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority, which includes an update and expansion of ARCS's national contingency plans.

Overall, the program will prepare the ARCS to provide immediate support to Afghan men, women and children impacted by disasters and emergencies.