Eighty-year-old Bibi Sakina, a resident of Herat City in western Afghanistan, has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her 75-year-old husband, Hassan Haidari, has diabetes. He contracted COVID-19 when the virus peaked and was hospitalized for 18 days.
Their despair turned to relief when they received a food package from their neighborhood Community Development Council (CDC) under Dastarkhwan-e-Meli, the Afghan government umbrella program that channels relief to poor AfghThe COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity in vulnerable communities across Afghanistan. Preventive measures, such as lockdowns, have caused border closures, disrupted productive activities, and drove down consumption.
. According to the United Nations, nearly 12 million Afghan citizens face acute food insecurity and lack access to stable jobs and income
Bakhtiar, 25, a resident of Mandozai village in Mehtarlam, the provincial capital of Laghman, and a daily-wage worker, is among the vulnerable thousands who have been hit hard by COVID-19. "Most people in our village are already poor and they supported their families with daily jobs," he says. "In my case, our entire family contracted COVID-19, so we couldn't work and now we face economic difficulties."
Bakhtiar is thankful to Dastarkhwan-e-Meli, which gave his household a relief package. "It has satisfied our hunger by providing us with some essential food items, such as rice, flour, oil, [and] red beans for some time," he says.