Shelter Now reports on current situation – virus spreading rapidly
For the distribution of hygiene kits to prevent the corona virus as well as food to poor families in Afghanistan, the international Christian aid organization Shelter Now urgently needs further donations. So far, around 3,500 families have been reached, that is almost half of the planned number of 8,000, reports the German Shelter Now director Udo Stolte. In the province of Herat, hygiene training was also offered to 1,860 families. Meanwhile, the corona virus is spreading rapidly in Afghanistan, aggravating the already tense food situation, especially among the poorer and disadvantaged population groups.
According to figures from the World Health Organization, around 34,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus in Afghanistan to date (July 10), and almost 1,000 have died. However, according to Shelter Now employees on site, the official statistics are “not very meaningful”, says Stolte, as sufficient testing facilities are lacking. Also the number of the dead does not seem to be complete. In addition to the capital Kabul, the West Afghan province of Herat is particularly affected. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans had fled here from the spread of the corona virus in Iran – many were probably infected and spread the virus further in the country.
According to the Shelter Now director, Afghan employees have repeatedly reported Covid 19 deaths among relatives or friends. The office of the aid organization in Herat had to close for two weeks because several colleagues had shown symptoms. Fortunately, however, all would have had mild courses without breathing difficulties. “A major problem throughout the country is the lack of oxygen,” says Stolte. He knows credible reports from Kabul according to which five patients had to share one oxygen cylinder – each for a few minutes. Some sick people with a chance of survival have died because of this situation.
In recent weeks, Shelter Now has been able to provide around 3,500 families in Afghanistan with relief supplies. The hygiene sets contain among other things masks, soaps, shampoo, chlorine cleaner with spray bottle as well as instructions for the production of own disinfectant for articles of daily use. According to Stolte, comparable distribution actions by Shelter Now also took place in Kurdistan, where several hundred Yezidi refugee families in the camps in Baadre and Sheikhan were reached.
Brunswick, July 13, 2020
About Shelter Now
Shelter Now is an international relief organization with a coordination office in Germany. It was active in Pakistan from 1983 to 2016. Work began in 1988 in Afghanistan and in 2014 in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). The name of the organization in Germany is “Shelter Now Germany e.V.”. Shelter Now finances its relief efforts to a large extent from private donations. Since 2006, the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) has annually certified Shelter Now’s efficient and project-related use of funds with the donation seal of approval.