As people watched chaotic footage of the American military withdrawal from Afghanistan as the Taliban seized political power, an increasingly common thought surfaced: how can I help?
Google GOOG searches on Monday for the phrase “how to help Afghan refugees” were up 1,050% over the previous day worldwide. In America, searches under “how to help Afghanistan” were up 300%.
The searches come at a time of narrowing options to send money to people in Afghanistan right now. For example, Western Union announced it was temporarily suspending money transfers into the country.
But there are other ways to help, according to the charity rating site Charity Navigator, which says the war-torn country faces the “risk of a massive humanitarian crisis.”
The site suggested three highly-rated nonprofits operating in Afghanistan: Child Foundation, an Oregon-based nonprofit with an office in Afghanistan; Global Giving, which has set a goal of raising $3 million for an Afghanistan emergency fund; and World Help, which says a $35 donation provides a week’s worth of food and water for a refugee.
Another possibility is donations to the United Nations Children’s Fund, known as UNICEF.
The UN agency focused on children’s health and nutrition still has “a presence in every single one of the regions in Afghanistan, and we’ve been working in areas that were under Taliban control before these latest developments,” said UNICEF spokesman Joe English.
English said UNICEF will continue its work “no matter who the authorities are, who’s in charge. And so we will continue to work with our local partners on the ground to make sure that kids have been receiving the vaccinations they need, to make sure that they’re in school, and that includes girls. That is a core part of our work. It’s not something which we’re going to step away from.”
Other organizations with a presence in the country include Save the Children, the Red Cross, and Oxfam, English noted. “All of them do critical work, and none of us have the funding and support that we need,” he said, adding that if there’s an organization someone’s supported before “then, by all means, look up what they’re doing in Afghanistan and support that.”
For example, Women for Women International is urging people to donate, saying on its website, “We URGENTLY need more donors to help the women of Afghanistan. Your emergency support is a lifeline for the most vulnerable.”
One anonymous donor will match up to $500,000 in donations, the organization said.