History of Country
Afghanistan’s harsh mountainous landscape has been the scene of over 25 years of conflict and insecurity. The Afghan people are trapped in a desperate humanitarian crisis as fighting continues between Nato forces and the Taliban.
Successive wars have shattered the economy and left homes, schools and infrastructure in ruins. The country is littered with millions of landmines that kill about 7 people each day.
Poverty and Poppies
Over half of Afghanistan’s 29 million people live below the poverty line, and 60 percent of the population survives on less than $1 a day. Most people make their living from agriculture. However, the conflict has severely disrupted livelihoods.
Many farmers have turned to growing opium poppies, feeding the international heroin trade. Poppy cultivation increased by 47 percent in 2006 and Afghanistan is now the world’s largest producer of opium.
Since 2001, the worst drought in thirty years devastated harvests and destroyed food stocks across Afghanistan. Spring rains failed again in 2006, seriously affecting food production in the northern provinces.
As a result; of severe drought, poverty and instability, around 6.7 million Afghans have little or no food.
Millions suffer from malnutrition and around one child in ten is severely malnourished. Fifty-four percent of children have stunted growth, which seriously affects their height, weight and development.
Islamic Relief's History
40% of Afghanis survive on less than $1 a day
IR has been working in Afghanistan since 1992 and set up its office in April 2001 to better respond to the conflict.
Early projects combined emergency relief with development and included drought relief and food aid. IR worked in partnership with the UN World Food Programme on eight projects, including food distribution in Kandahar and a women’s bakery in Helmand province.
IR was one of the few aid agencies to continue working in Afghanistan during the military incursions, and our Kabul and Kandahar offices remain open today. Unfortunately, chronic insecurity has forced the closure of the Kajaki office in Helmand province.
Today IR works in Afghanistan’s central, Northern, Eastern and Southern regions, where instability is affecting thousands of people. Current projects include drought relief, health and education, water and sanitation, livelihoods support and building community infrastructure.