A SCOTTISH charity set up by refugees is helping to support 500 people made homeless by the devastating earthquakes in Afghanistan last month.

Now Glasgow Afghan United (GAU) would like more people to support their Emergency Appeal for Herat which was struck by earthquakes of 6.3 magnitude, flattening homes, causing thousands of deaths and injuring thousands more.

“People who had little now have nothing and are in desperate need of support,” said Abdul Bostani of GAU. “As the winter comes the need is even more urgent.”

The Herat region was already suffering as a result of the national economic crisis that has taken hold since 2021 when the Taliban returned to power and overseas funding and support to Afghanistan were significantly reduced.

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Extreme poverty throughout the country is now affecting many people’s lives, causing serious problems such as malnutrition and other health problems.

However, the crisis in the country and the devastation caused by the earthquakes have fallen off the news agenda with the result that people in Western countries may not know the extent of the suffering that is being experienced, according to Bostani.

“Even right now they are having minor earthquakes almost every night so people are terrified and think that everybody has forgotten about them,” he said.

“We are working to make sure that they are not forgotten and that there is some urgent support for them so that children especially have food to eat and some comfort and a protection from malnutrition and starvation.

“It is heart breaking to think of children, pregnant women and old people living in these conditions.

“We want to do as much as we can to help them and we are asking anyone who can make a donation to please consider supporting our appeal.”

Since GAU started its appeal it has been successful in delivering emergency food parcels to around 500 people.

“We have focused on families with many children – the largest size was 15 children,” said Bostani. “These are people whose houses are flattened and they are just living in tents in the cold with very little belongings.”

While large aid agencies have had difficulty in reaching Herat which is relatively remote, the Afghans in Scotland have been able to contact volunteers in the province who are able to use the donations to buy food and supply it to those most in need.

Through the appeal they have been able to give them large-sized food parcels with enough to last a family for up to three months in beans, rice, tea, flour for bread, vegetable oil, sugar and salt.

“The families have been very happy to receive this and we used our team of volunteers on the ground to deliver it quickly. Anyone donating can be assured that their donations will mean food supplies will reach people within a few days,” said Bostani.

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“The need is absolute. Two districts have been totally destroyed and people have no roof over their heads. The area is too far away from the centre and a lot of international charities are not reaching them so they are forgotten people and support from us is vital.

“We have no overheads other than transport for the volunteers so all the donations go to those who need it. There is food available but people don’t have money to buy it.

“In Afghanistan the volunteers are local people we know and are very dedicated and helpful. They are going the extra mile to help out and we have been very heartened by the support from the Afghan community in Scotland but there is still a lot of need and a lot more people we could help if we had more money.”

To donate to the GAU appeal, visit the website HERE