UK charity Muslim Hands has launched its winter appeal, distributing £500,000 pounds worth of aid to support some of the neediest people worldwide. Distributions will take place in nine locations, including Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and the UK. 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 is leading millions into deeper poverty and food insecurity.
This year Pakistan faced its deadliest floods since 2010. It has impacted over 33 million people, including approximately 16 million children. Thousands of homes were damaged and around four million acres of farmland destroyed. According to the World Food Programme (WFP) the average Pakistani household spends 50 percent of their monthly income on food, which makes them particularly vulnerable to shocks such as inflation and climate change. Those living in the worst affected regions of Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab now find themselves in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, most of them women and children. Many of the flood victims are battling the winter in tents or out in the open. and it is now a race against time for organisations such as Muslim Hands to ensure aid reaches those who are most vulnerable before the winter season isolates them.
Jameela a mother of three from Quetta told our teams, ‘When I came back after the floods, I had lost everything, including my home. We are now living in a camp with my children and other family members. I survive on the food rations provided by Muslim Hands, but I am worried about winter. We have no shoes, no warm clothing - look at my children and their shoes, they are either wearing flip flops or nothing – we need boots.’
To witness people in such desperation is truly heart-breaking. The scale of devastation is unimaginable, and it will take years for the country to recover. Many of those impacted live in poverty and relied on agriculture to support their families, but the land is now infertile because of the sediment that has been left by the flood waters. The people of Pakistan urgently need the continued support of organisations like Muslim Hands if they are to survive this winter.’ Javid Gillani, Muslim Hands Director Pakistan.
Muslim Hands is responding by providing the most vulnerable with stoves and winter fuel, food parcels, blankets, and warm clothing. Currently 110 homes are being constructed in Balochistan, which will rehome 800 beneficiaries impacted by the recent floods.
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 continued inflation has meant a hike in energy bills and food, which has had a serious impact on families across the country.
Muslim Hands has pledged to support local UK communities this winter through our Open Kitchens in London and Nottingham, which are providing 550 meals daily to low-income families, rough sleepers and refugees, as well as support with housing, employment and mental health.. Collectively, both Open Kitchens have provided nearly 400,000 meals since their opening. We also distribute winter essentials, such as warm clothes and sleeping bags to vulnerable service users each winter.
‘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, for whom the cold season 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. We urgently need our donors to join us so that together we can keep our beneficiaries warm and safe.’ Yasrab Shah, Muslim Hands Fundraising Director
Notes to editors
- Established in 1993, Muslim Hands is an international aid agency and NGO dedicated to providing emergency relief and tackling the root causes of poverty around the world.
- Muslim Hands works in over 30 countries worldwide.
- We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0115 911 7222 or clicking here.
- Press enquiries contact Sahirah Javaid (Senior Press Officer) via email firstname.lastname@example.org or 07736344899