Gordon Brown calls for public help to tackle Afghan humanitarian crisis

·2 min read

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has helped to launch a petition urging the Government to hold an emergency multi-nation conference to raise money to tackle the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

He warned that five million children and four million adults in Afghanistan are in immediate danger of acute malnutrition and 23 million people face famine in the coming months.

The petition is a direct call to the public to add their voices to the appeal for action to save Afghan lives.

Mr Brown said no-one who has seen the TV reports coming out of Afghanistan could fail to be moved by the detail of the heart-breaking individual tragedies befalling so many.

He pressed the government to convene a multi-nation conference of the 40 countries who joined the American led coalition to fight the Afghan war, to help secure over £3 billion, which the United Nations says is desperately needed to prevent famine hitting millions of people.

“Of the 40 countries who joined the American led coalition to fight the Afghan war, all should now contribute to the peace. There is not a moment to lose.

“My friend Malala, the Pakistan girl who was shot at by the Taliban for supporting girls education and won the Nobel prize, has told me she will be one of the first to sign the petition.”

A boy stands near to his damaged house after it was hit by an earthquake  in Afghanistan
A boy stands near to his damaged house after it was hit by an earthquake in a remote western province of Badghis, Afghanistan last week (Abdul Raziq Saddiqi/AP)

Kirsty McNeill, executive director of policy, advocacy and campaigns at Save the Children UK, which is helping to organise the petition, added, “Every province in Afghanistan is facing critical levels of hunger.

“It’s now a race against time to get families the urgent support they need to survive. If no action is taken in the coming months, up to one million children could be at risk dying from malnutrition.

“The crisis in Afghanistan has been called the worst humanitarian crisis on earth, but it’s not too late to prevent catastrophic disaster.

“It’s vital that the UK Government convene a global summit immediately to respond practically and financially to the full-blown humanitarian catastrophe under way.”

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