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Global Food Crisis Underway
   Afghan refugees who have fled to Pakistan are receiving urgently needed humanitarian assistance. PWS&D is currently unable to send funds to Af- ghanistan due to sanctions. PHOTO CREDIT: CWSA
food prices, which are 34% high- er than this time last year. One of the biggest customers of Ukrain- ian wheat, the World Food Pro- gramme, has reported that their monthly costs have risen by US $71 million a month—the equiva- lent of daily food rations for 3.8 million people.
The places most affected by in- creased prices are countries that import more food than they grow, which are mostly low-income countries in the Horn of Africa re- gion, as well as Yemen, Afghani- stan and Syria.
The impact of these converging issues is disproportionately felt by women and girls, who make up 60 percent of acutely food insecure people globally. When women don’t have the nutrition they need, the impacts can be devastating, including increased maternal and infant mortality. Food insecurity also puts women and girls at increased risk of gen- der-based violence, sexual exploi- tation and child marriage.
As well as responding to the critical needs emerging from the ongoing war in Ukraine, PWS&D is actively providing food assis-
tance in a number of countries that are extremely vulnerable to food insecurity and famine, in- cluding Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
In Afghanistan, nearly 23 mil- lion people—half of the popula- tion—are projected to be acutely food insecure in 2022. PWS&D has a food assistance project ready to roll out but is currently unable to begin implementation.
Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, PWS&D has not been able to provide urgent humanitarian as- sistance to those who desper- ately need it. Like other Canadian charitable organizations, sending funds to Afghanistan has become impossible for PWS&D because of provisions in Canada’s Crimi- nal Code, which brand sending funds to the country as a poten- tially criminal act. Terminology in the code that prohibits “directly or indirectly” suppor ting the Taliban does not provide specificity re- garding what humanitarian actions might be allowed. Organizations like PWS&D could be at risk of losing their charitable status, sim- ply for saving lives in Afghanistan.
Families like Jehan’s, pictured here signing up as project participants, can purchase food and other essen- tial items with the support they have received. PHOTO CREDIT: CWSA.
expressed Jehan.
In March 2022, Jehan gave
birth to a healthy baby girl in their shared house. Since the family left all their belongings in Kapisa, there was no clothing for her new- born. Instead, the baby is mainly draped in cloth and handmade diapers since the family cannot afford to buy new clothes.
Earlier this year, Jehan and her family were selected to receive cash assistance from a PWS&D- suppor ted ACT Alliance appeal to assist Afghan refugees in Pa- kistan. With this aid, she will be able to buy food and other life- saving essentials for herself and her kids, including blankets and
The combined effects of climate change, conflict and COVID-19 have caused huge increases in world hun- ger, including that experienced by families in Tigray, Ethiopia. PHOTO CREDIT: LWF ETHIOPIA
Other nations, including the U.K., U.S., Germany and Australia have found solutions to facilitate humanitarian exemptions in the same situation. Along with other Canadian charities, PWS&D has been advocating to the Govern- ment of Canada for a humanitar- ian exemption to be made here, as well.
Your voice can make a differ- ence. Ask the Canadian govern- ment to make an exemption that would allow humanitarian assis- tance to be sent to Afghanistan. Visit advocacy to learn more and download a sample letter.
quilts, mattresses, pillows, plastic sheets and warm clothes.
Responding to
the Displaced
PWS&D, through ACT Alliance, is responding with our local partner in Pakistan to support families from Afghanistan who face con- flict-induced displacement. Our co-operative effort improves food security and the immediate well- being of families.
In addition, PWS&D is ready to begin an emergency food as- sistance project in Afghanistan, in collaboration with a local partner and with support from Canadian Foodgrains Bank. The response will see 2,550 families receive monthly cash distributions for a six-month period.
However, sanctions imposed by the Canadian government on the Taliban make it currently ille- gal under Canadian law to send funds to Afghanistan. Pray with us that there will soon be a hu- manitarian exemption to the law in order to allow the transfer of funds to reach Afghanistan and address the hunger crisis and save endangered lives.
Visit advocacy for more information.
By Karen Bokma, PWS&D
Right now, 45 million people liv- ing across 43 countries are at risk of starvation. Stress on global food systems could lead to 323 million people facing acute hun- ger in 2022.
The effects of climate change, conflict and COVID-19 have com- bined to create a situation where action is essential. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which closed markets and disrupted livelihoods—combined with the
impacts of climate change—had already caused world hunger to rise by an unprecedented 18% last year. Progress made to re- duce world hunger in recent dec- ades has largely evaporated.
The conflict in Ukraine and the expectation of historic droughts are pushing the threat of wide- spread famine even higher. In 2019, Russia and Ukraine ac- counted for 25% of the world’s wheat supply.
The war in Ukraine is also con- tributing to the sharp rise in global
  A Refugee Mother’s Struggles in Pakistan
  Jehan and her children fled their home in Afghanistan after she lost her husband when he was killed in the crossfire between two fighting groups. The family found refuge in Pakistan but struggle to make ends meet. PHOTO CREDIT: CWSA.
By Stephanie Chunoo, PWS&D
“My children were attending a local school. My husband and I have always encouraged our children to gain an education for
a better future. But we did not im- agine the chaos we were about to face,” Jehan recalled.
In Kapisa province in Afghani- stan, the mother of five led a modest and happy life; her hus- band worked for the government and earned enough money to support their family. But that all changed in August 2021. “An in- tense conflict arose in our village, and my husband was killed in the crossfire. I was left alone to care for my children with no source of livelihood,” she shared.
When the Taliban took over in 2021, millions were forced to flee their homes due to food insecu- rity, poverty and inflation. Jehan found herself with no other choice but to take her five children, rang- ing from two to 14 years of age, to Kabul for safety. Once there, though, she still felt that her fam- ily would not be safe as long as they stayed in Afghanistan.
With no money or belongings,
Jehan made the difficult decision to cross the border into Pakistan. After three days of travelling, the family of six made it to the neigh- bouring country. “For many days, we were surviving on the streets of Islamabad. A kind man took us in, who is actively working to shelter the refugees from Afghani- stan. He took us to a home and gave us a room to settle in.”
Jehan and her family share the house with eight other refu- gee families. While the space is very tight, and the monthly food rations are often insufficient, the family is very thankful for the kind Samaritan. “I am lucky to have found a shelter that I currently do not have to pay for, but I am still very worried for my children and myself. I found out that I was ex- pecting my sixth child just before my husband died. I had no source of income to bear the medical ex- pense of my delivery or to fulfill the basic needs of my children,”

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