Jeremy Vine: Panel erupts in furious row on UK stay in Afghanistan
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According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 550,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Afghanistan in 2021 alone. As the Taliban tightens its control of the country and promises of tolerance appear to have been ominously false, huge numbers of people are trying to flee the region to protect their families.
The UNHCR said: “With the situation deteriorating rapidly, families speak of having to flee at a moment’s notice, only with the clothes on their backs.
“This crisis is particularly hard on the most vulnerable in society, children and young people, who make up some 65 percent of the Afghan population.
“Tragically, more women and children have been killed and wounded in the first half of 2021 than in any full year since records began in 2009.”
With growing pressure on western nations to support people fleeing the violence, here is a list of some things you can do to help those in need.
1. Donate essential items
Those fleeing the conflict have often reported having to make a break for their lives with nothing but the clothes on their back.
This means that essential items such as clothing and basic hygiene products are essential to keep people safe and warm when they reach refugee shelters.
The charity Care4Calais is very accessible for donations – head here to enter your postcode and see where you can drop off items all over the UK.
In particular, they are calling for men’s clothing, phones and chargers, but anything will help.
Remember, a lot of these refugees are young children, and need things like nappies, as well as toys and blankets to comfort them.
2. Make a cash donation
If you are able, even a small amount of money donated can go a long way to help.
Care4Calais said that just £4 will provide a pack of healthy food for someone, and £10 will feed a family for three or four days.
The UNHCR said that donations will be collated to provide essential items in these categories:
£35 will provide five sanitary kits including laundry soap, toilet soap and sanitary napkins
£52 can buy a core relief kit, providing a family with blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and a kitchen set
£310 can provide an emergency shelter kit, including a family tent and plastic tarpaulins
There are dozens of charities you can donate to, so do some looking around online for one you feel comfortable with.
If you have the ability and time, charities are in urgent need of volunteers across the UK to help their relief efforts.
Whether you start a fundraiser, launch a campaign or offer up a collection point for donations – any form of volunteered help will be appreciated.
You should check your chosen charity’s website for how to sign up to be a volunteer.
4. Write to your MP
Your voice is more significant than you realise – the more people write to parliamentary representatives, the more likely it is to be heard.
Encourage your MP to put pressure on the British Government to alter policy to allow more refugees to seek shelter in the UK.
On Tuesday the Government announced its plan to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees over the long term, including 5,000 this year.
However, these figures have come under criticism, with campaigners suggesting that the scheme does not go far enough to help the millions of Afghan refugees who will be displaced.
Remember, these people are trying to save the lives of themselves and their families – they aren’t going to do citizens of the UK any harm.
Find your local MP here by entering your postcode.
5. Spread awareness
Social media is a powerful tool and can be used to increase the response of ordinary citizens to the crisis.
Share what you’ve done to help those in need on your social media and encourage others to do the same.
You never know, you could inspire some of your friends, family or followers to take action too – the more people who offer help, the more desperate people can be reached.
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