UK charity Muslim Hands has launched its largest winter appeal ever, distributing £1 million pounds worth of aid to support over 65,000 beneficiaries worldwide. Distributions will take place in eight locations, namely Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey and Kashmir (India). Vital relief will be provided to communities affected by war, poverty and natural disasters, with a particular focus on displaced people, widows, children and the elderly.
In addition to the devastating effects of ongoing conflict and political instability, climate change has influenced extreme weather, from mass flooding to drought, which has left a large portion of agricultural land in perishable condition. With 70 percent of the world’s poor reliant on farming to support their families according to the UN, millions are heading deeper into poverty, facing food insecurity and famine.
In Afghanistan, for instance, people who have been subjected to two decades of a brutal war, the collapse of their banking system and severe aid cuts are also having to navigate an economy ravaged by a second drought in four years, the worst of its kind in 27 years. Afghans now find themselves in the midst of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with millions marching towards starvation according to the WFP, most of them women and children. As winter looms, both urban and rural families have been impacted by food insecurity at the same rate, with only 5% of the population having food on their table daily. It is now a race against time for organisations such as Muslim Hands to ensure aid reaches those who are more vulnerable before the winter season isolates them.
Inayat Kakar, Muslim Hands Assistant Country Manager Afghanistan, says:
‘We are living in utter chaos. For Afghans of all generations, the future is bleak, and many are resorting to begging on the streets, rifling through garbage, or selling everything they own, including their own children to survive. To witness people in such desperation, resorting to these unimaginable measures is truly heart-breaking. A large proportion of those suffering are women and children. The people of Afghanistan urgently need the continued support of organisations like Muslim Hands if they are to survive another harsh winter.’
Muslim Hands is responding by providing the most vulnerable with stoves and winter fuel, food parcels, blankets and warm clothing.
Closer to home, UK food poverty rates continue to rise with food banks expecting their busiest and most difficult winter on record. The pandemic has contributed towards high unemployment rates and over a million people who were reliant on the government furlough scheme will be plunged into debt. Inflation has also meant a hike in energy bills and food, which will have a serious impact on families across the country.
Muslim Hands has pledged to support local UK communities this winter through our Open Kitchen in Hounslow, which has provided 450 meals daily to low-income families, rough sleepers and refugees since it was set up three years ago. Our second Open Kitchen in Nottingham will open its doors on the 8th of December. Nottingham is considered one of the most deprived cities in the UK, with government figures suggesting that 1 in 6 children there live below the poverty line.
Yasrab Shah, Muslim Hands Fundraising Director, says:
‘We are humbled by the generosity of our donors, who continue to give so that we can reach more people each year. Our winter appeal will provide essential items to some of the world’s poorest communities, which for them can mean the difference between life and death. Our support also extends to those living on our very own doorstep in the UK, suffering to make ends meet. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic, high unemployment levels and inflation. We urgently need our donors to join us so that together we can keep our beneficiaries warm and safe.’
Notes to editors:
- To find out more, visit our website www.muslimhands.org.uk or call 0115 911 7222
- Contact: Sahirah Javaid - Senior Press Officer
- email@example.com / 07736344899