Chaos engulfed Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, this week as the U.S. began to withdraw from the country after 20 years of war. Horrific scenes of desperate people clinging to airplanes have given way to crowds of Afghans who aided American forces trying to flee the Taliban.
For those wondering what they can do for refugees arriving to settle in the United States, women and girls fearful the Taliban will erase gains they have made or Afghans afraid they will be targeted and who are struggling to survive, here are some ways to help.
WAYS TO HELP AFGHANS IN AFGHANISTAN AND ELSEWHERE
The Child Foundation, which provides basic necessities to children living in poverty and access to education, created an Afghanistan Crisis Fund for Emergency Assistance in the Balkh province, where about 800 children supported by the foundation live. Schools had closed and fear was high in the ethnic minority communities, according to its website. It had raised $15,000 and sent the money to feed 300 families.
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Global Giving's Afghanistan Emergency Fund is working with partners on the ground to get emergency support to people in Afghanistan via vetted nonprofits working in the region, it says. Women, children, activists and journalists are particularly at risk, it says.
Islamic Relief USA is raising money to help families struggling with displacement and hunger. More than 3.5 million people have been uprooted as Afghanistan is on the brink of famine, it says on its website.
The International Rescue Committee says it has been working in Afghanistan for three decades providing shelter, education, clean water and other aid.
UN Crisis Relief has a fund for what it has called a “deepening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan” Since the beginning of July, thousands of Afghans have been displaced, injured or killed, it says.
UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, says that registered refugees from Afghanistan are the "largest protracted refugee population in Asia, and the second largest refugee population in the world."
Women for Women International says it has reached more than 127,000 women in five provinces since 2002. Afghanistan is one of the most difficult countries for women because political and economic insecurity, educational inequality, sexual violence and poor health are all pervasive, it says.
WAYS TO HELP REFUGEES ARRIVING IN US
Church World Service says on its website that as the Taliban regains control, some families are in danger. Since 2009, Church World Service has resettled more than 7,000 Afghans and their families in the United States. There are 18,000 Afghans in need of resettlement to the United States and the service’s help in finding housing, employment and other social services.
Homes Not Borders provides refugees, those with Special Immigrant Visas and asylum seekers in the Washington, D.C., area with what they need to be at home in the U.S., including household needs and help finding jobs. It is seeking donations of money or items and volunteers.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is asking for assistance for the United States' Afghan allies, among them interpreters, cultural advisers and drivers who are now at risk of retaliatory attacks. Volunteers are need to help refugees with airport pickups, apartment set-ups or meal assistance. Sign ups are available for regions where refugees are arriving — Seattle/Tacoma, Houston, Fort Worth and the Washington, D.C., area — or for the general stand-by list. Donations are also accepted.