The founder of an animal rescue charity based in Kabul, Afghanistan, has confirmed the organisation has raised more than £200,000 after setting up an emergency fundraiser to evacuate staff and animals.
Kabul-based organisation Nowzad launched an emergency fundraising appeal titled “Operation Ark” earlier this week, in an effort to raise the funds so the charity could rent a cargo plane to relocate staff and animals out of the country.
The organisation treats sick animals in Afghanistan as well as organising for cats and dogs to find new homes elsewhere.
In a video published on the charity’s Facebook page on Thursday morning, founder and ex-marine Pen Farthing said that more than enough money had been raised for the charity’s evacuation.
“In terms of the fundraising we have more than raised the money for our [evacuation],” he said.
Earlier in the week Farthing urged the British government to help his employees and their families at Nowzad to fly out of Afghanistan, as well as the charity’s rescue animals.
He warned that all 71 members of the charity’s staff body “face the most horrendous future I wouldn't wish on anyone”, and mentioned that the Taliban had moved in next door.
In his latest Facebook video, Farthing said he had previously hoped to fly all of his employees to the UK, but that he now wants to “throw them on whatever flight I can possibly find.”
He said that the charity will leave the fundraising page open, and encouraged supporters to keep donating, adding that additional funds would be put towards securing “a legacy for Nowzad” in the UK or another country.
The charity has not confirmed the exact figure raised, as Farthing set up multiple donation pages for the fundraising effort. He said the charity’s team in England was working “flat out” to confirm the numbers.
Following the planned withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban advanced across the country and captured the capital, Kabul, on 15 August.
On Wednesday evening Farthing shared a video of gunshots being fired at Kabul Airport, and urged Boris Johnson and other leaders in the UK and US to “get a grip” on the situation.
The Foreign Office said it was in contact with Farthing to offer help, according to BBC reports.
In the House of Commons yesterday, prime minister Boris Johnson said he is aware of Farthing's cause. "We will do everything we can to help Farthing [...] without jeopardising our national security,” he said.
However, in the latest update Farthing said he has had no contact from the government about the fate of his staff.