Education projects currently suspended – food aid continues

By distributing hygiene packages to particularly needy families, the international Christian aid organization Shelter Now is reacting to the spread of the corona virus in Afghanistan. At the same time, the organization is preparing for food distributions, as shortages in supply are feared, reports the German director of Shelter Now, Udo Stolte. Several projects, particularly in the education sector, have been suspended until further notice.

More than 150,000 Afghans have already entered Afghanistan almost uncontrolled out of fear of the corona spread in Iran – many may be infected with the virus and now spread it throughout the country, said Stolte. The Afghan government has so far reported 273 corona infections and 6 deaths, with the majority of cases registered in Herat province, which borders Iran.

At the request of government agencies, the Shelter Now team in Herat is currently preparing to distribute hygiene kits to 8,000 poor families (about 50,000 people). The packages include soaps, shampoo, toothpaste, towels, articles for monthly hygiene and containers for water transport. For the action the aid organization urgently needs approximately 230,000 euro funds. In addition, according to Stolte, Shelter Now has received several official requests for food distributions at various locations in Afghanistan.

Due to the corona pandemic, the elementary school and the center for the deaf in Kabul, the vocational training project in Faizabad and the children’s center in Baadre/Kurdistan are currently closed. Others, such as the construction of drinking water wells, could continue for the time being, since close contact from person to person is not required here, says Stolte. The orphanage in Faizabad will continue to be supplied with food and firewood, in Kurdistan the support of Yezidi refugee families will continue, Stolte adds.

Nearly all international Shelter Now employees stayed in the country at their own request, emphasizes Stolte. They worked in the home office, but were also allowed to go to the offices to manage the necessary organizational and documentary tasks and maintain contact with the local project managers on site. Through the usual hygiene measures such as frequent hand washing, keeping their distance and wearing a face mask, they protect themselves from infection.

Brunswick, April 03, 2020

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