Charity in the Corona Age (1); the Food Bank in Herat, Big Start from Western Afghanistan

Local officials in Herat province say the first food and equipment bank has opened in the province with the Cooperation of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI).

The Herat governor’s press office in a statement on Tuesday said that tens of thousands of food parcels will be prepared and stored in the bank to be distributed to the needy based on an effective and transparent mechanism.

Mohammad Younes Ghazizadah, head of the Herat Chamber of Commerce and Investment, announced the completion of a survey of three districts in Herat in recent days, adding that national traders are fully prepared to continue their cooperation to strengthen the bank.

$ 300,000 Donation

Mr. Ghazizadah has also announced the allocation of $ 300,000 in cash from national traders to the bank and the distribution of 3,000 food packages to those in need in recent days.

Meanwhile, a member of the Lower House of Parliament has given $ 20,000 to the Food and Equipment Bank to support the initiative.

The initiative is to set up a food and equipment bank with the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Investment, which is estimated to provide $ 2 million in food aid to businesses.

These grants include food or cash that will be deposited into a bank account.

“We have businessmen who are outside the country. After the email we sent to them, some of them have pledged to cooperate,” said Khan Jan Alkozai, Afghanistan’s first deputy director of ACCI.

Now, in addition to ACCI which manages the bank, the Herat governor’s office is working with security, distribution of materials and equipment, and identification of the needy.

Earlier, the Herat governor’s office provided assistance to some of the needy by an emergency committee, but this time all the needy will be identified and then will be distributed the raw materials they need on a regular basis.

Database of Specifications of People in Need

“The biggest problem that ACCI faces now is the lack of a complete database of employed and unemployed people. If we had a database that showed which people were unemployed, we could have helped them better,” Alkozai said.  “And this is something that neither the government nor we have been able to do after 20 years. Now, with the government’s cooperation, we can continue to identify the needy in Herat.”

He also noted the lack of transparency in previous aid.  Because in the previous donations, a number of needy people did not receive any help, but another number has received these donations several times.

But this time the donations will be distributed based on the survey.

“By collecting and distributing materials, the bank wants to help the needy and deserving people, who have so far donated about 300,000 cash and large amounts of food, medicine and equipment,” Jilani Farhad, the governor’s spokesman, told Reporterly. The donations will also include vendors and day laborers.

“Now food prices are back to normal, but we’re trying to keep the virus out of the way by tightening restrictions that will be tightened from tomorrow,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health said on Wednesday that the number of people infected with the coronavirus in Herat reaches 306, and that the province was still at the top of the country’s provinces with the highest number of people infected with the virus.  Six people have died and 13 others have recovered.

The total number of people infected with the coronavirus in Afghanistan has reached 784 so far.

Zackaria Noori contributed reporting.

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