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Mercy Corps launches campaign for Afghan children

Afghanistan, December 13, 2001

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    "Mercy Corps’ Campaign for Afghan Children is designed to meet the basic needs of 50,000 children over the next six months." Photo: Kim Johnston/Mercy Corps. Photo:

Mercy Corps is responding to the urgent needs in Afghanistan, launching an unprecedented $5 million campaign to provide lifesaving aid to children. With the arrival of winter, hunger and hardship increase dramatically, further compounding the difficulties faced by Afghan families.

“We are racing against time to help children in Afghanistan,” says Mercy Corps’ CEO Neal Keny-Guyer. “Thousands of children have no place to call home and they don’t know where they will find their next meal. Winter is not a time for young children to go without food, warm clothing and shelter.”

Two decades of continuous conflict has raised a generation of children under a shadow of violence. Five years of drought have created widespread food shortages and displacement. The current military situation seriously exacerbates the problems youth face in Afghanistan.

Even before the war in Afghanistan, children’s lives were in peril. The following statistics, compiled prior to the current conflict, probably underestimate current needs:

  • 95% of children have witnessed violence
  • 66% don’t attend school
  • 50% suffer chronic malnutrition
  • 33% are orphans
  • 25% die before age five

Mercy Corps’ Campaign for Afghan Children is designed to meet the basic needs of 50,000 children over the next six months by providing food, shelter, water and sanitation, heating, and household items such as blankets, cookware, stove and fuel.

Mercy Corps has worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than 15 years and provides a variety of humanitarian and economic development programs including health services, food aid, agricultural programs, veterinary care for livestock, engineering and drilling wells, drought relief and rehabilitation services, and sanitation projects. The agency employs 400 national staff in Afghanistan and Pakistan.