Afghanistan

Situation Report

Highlights (51 days ago)

  • As Afghanistan is recovering from the worst drought in a decade, Afghans have high hopes for the next harvest season.
  • Natural disasters in 2019 severely damaged or destroyed 24,653 homes in 32 provinces, affecting 292,525 people.
  • Attacks on schools tripled between 2017 and 2018 in the first increase in attacks since 2015.
  • Healthcare out of reach for many Afghan as nearly a third of the population needs to travel more than 5 km to receive health services.
  • Devastating combination of drought, conflict and insecurity in 2018 continues to exacerbate the nutritional status of vulnerable people.
Child in Afghanistan
UNICEF

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Afghanistan

Situation Report

Key Figures

6.3M
People in Need
4.5M
People Targeted for Assistance
3.8M
Children in Need

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Afghanistan

Situation Report

Funding (2019)

$611.8M
Required
$248.7M
Received
41%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Ian Ridley

Head of Office

Noroarisoa Rakotomalala

Deputy Head of Office

Linda Tom

Public Information Officer

Afghanistan

Situation Report
Analysis (51 days ago)
Food Distribution for drought-affected families in Kohi Zor, Hirat, May 2019.
Photo: WFP

Families look towards the future after the devastation of drought

Contribution from WFP

“I am returning to my village because we had a lot of rain this year,” said Abdul from Ab Kamari district in Badghis Province. “WFP helped us when we arrived in Qala-e-Naw and had nothing, but I am now hopeful that the harvest will be good this year.” Abdul and his family of seven are among the thousands of families driven from their homes by drought and conflict who arrived in Qala-e-Naw in Badghis Province, and Hirat City, in Hirat Province in the first half of 2018.

In 2018, WFP assisted 2.7 million drought-affected people with 106,000 metric tons of food and $14 million in cash transfers to cover food needs for six months or longer in the majority of cases. Families received fortified wheat flour, vegetable oil, iodized salt, split peas and specialized nutritious food for young children to prevent moderate acute malnutrition. WFP’s digital registration and benefits transfer system, SCOPE, enabled WFP to account for the size of displaced families.

The Government of Afghanistan provided WFP with a contribution of 60,000 metric tons of wheat from its Strategic Grain Reserve to help meet the needs. Three international donors provided funding for the wheat to be milled, fortified and transported to families in need. These innovative partnerships resulted in cost savings that allowed WFP to procure urgently needed food commodities and expedite the response at a critical time given the scale of the drought.

Monitoring the next harvest

Assistance has continued into 2019, with WFP supporting 1.9 million drought-affected people in the first three months of the year. In April 2019, WFP began scaling down its drought assistance, as spring rains and mountain snowmelt revived agricultural lands across the country.

Many people have high hopes for the next harvest season in July and August. “In recent weeks, we have seen many people return home voluntarily from sites around Qala-e-Naw, but there are still many more who need further support,” said Qadir Assemy, head of WFP’s area office in Hirat.

To gain a better understanding of the situation, the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock the National Statistics and Information Authority, with financial support from WFP, FAO, UNDP, are conducting a Seasonal Food Security Assessment, similar to the Emergency Food Security Assessment that guided the humanitarian community’s response to the drought.

Transitioning to more durable solutions

As part of the One UN initiative in Afghanistan, WFP and cluster partners are collaborating to transition from humanitarian emergency assistance to longer-term activities to strengthen livelihoods such as connecting farmers with local milling companies and markets, building water catchments for 51,000 people, constructing irrigation dams to support more than 600 hectares of fields, and supporting 300 women to raise silkworms. Furthermore, the Government, the World Bank, WFP and the FAO are developing a shock-responsive social safety net in drought-affected provinces to ensure early warning, financing and action.

“Our asset creation, vocational skills training and seasonal support activities, as well as our engagement with the Government, are all intended to bridge the gap between humanitarian assistance and more sustainable solutions so people can better manage future shocks,” explained Zlatan Milisic, WFP’s Country Director in Afghanistan. “Despite conflict, access, security and environmental challenges, WFP will continue to reach people in need of food assistance across the country and work with them to provide a way forward.”

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Afghanistan

Situation Report
Visuals and Data (48 days ago)
A flash flood hit an IDP camp on the outskirts of Kandahar city in March 2019.
Photo: IOM

Key figures (Flash Floods)

Number of affected provinces: 32

Affected population: 292,525

Number of people killed: 147

Number of people injured: 162

Number of houses damaged: 24, 653

Number of houses destroyed: 13,916

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Afghanistan

Situation Report
Coordination (50 days ago)

Helping communities affected by flash floods and other natural disasters

Contribution from IOM

From February to June 2019, heavy rains resulted in large-scale, repeated flash floods in the northern provinces of Balkh, Farah, Faryab Jawzjan, Sar-e-Pul; the western provinces of Hirat; and southern provinces of Kandahar and Hilmand. The floods, which came much earlier than normal, not only destroyed homes, but also trapped communities and hindered teams from reaching people in need. Some 147 people died and 162 more were injured by natural disasters from 3 January 2019 to 23 June 2019.

During the same period, natural disasters including floods have severely damaged or destroyed more than 24,653 homes in 32 provinces, affecting 292,194 people. Flooding in Hilmand alone damaged more than 3,600 homes in dozens of villages. “Our house is located right on the floodway,” said Rozuddin, a resident of Qala Bust village in Hilmand province. “One day, a heavy flood destroyed the walls of our home and swept right through our house. My 14-year old brother Hashmatullah was carried away. A few hours later, we received a call from a relative in one of the downstream villages. Hashmatullah had been found. He had drowned.”

IOM, with the support of OCHA-led coordination mechanisms, are working closely with partners, including the national and local authorities to respond to the needs created by humanitarian emergencies in Afghanistan and work to ensure improved living conditions for vulnerable communities. “Particularly in the rural areas of Afghanistan, many families depend on farming and agriculture to sustain their families – the natural disasters of recent months including floods and landslides have damaged or completely destroyed the livelihood opportunities for many. Supporting these families with life-saving emergency support and developing measures to protect their communities from such disasters in the future is absolutely crucial,” said Laurence Hart, Head of IOM Afghanistan.

To date, IOM has implemented 74 Disaster Risk Reduction infrastructure projects in 25 provinces of Afghanistan. These projects had an impact on 119 villages, 25,777 acres of agricultural land, 19,915 houses benefiting some 51,200 families or 258,400 people. “After the construction of a wall, flash floods occurred twice, but fortunately the floods didn’t reach our villages due to the protection that the wall provided. If the wall hadn’t been built, everything would have been wiped out,” said Wali Ahmad, a farmer in the outskirts of Hirat city.

Between 1 January and 11 June 2019, IOM supported more than 81,000 Afghans whose homes, agricultural lands or livestock were damaged by natural disasters. The life-saving assistance included emergency shelter, blankets, winter clothing and various household items, sometimes within 24 hours of the completion of needs assessments. The Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), supported by IOM and other partners including AAH, ACTED, Afghanaid, Afghan Red Crescent Society, CARE, CoAR, CONCERN, CRDSA, CWW, DRC, IMC, IRC, ME, NCRO, NRC, OCHA, OHW, ORD, OXFAM, SC-USA, UNICEF, UNHCR, WHH, Worldwide, and ZOA and in collaboration with Government departments established teams to assess the needs of the population at the village level in affected provinces.

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Afghanistan

Situation Report
Analysis (51 days ago)
Child in Afghanistan
Photo: UNICEF/UN0309024/Kokic

Education is increasingly becoming a target in Afghanistan

Contribution from UNICEF

Attacks on schools in Afghanistan tripled between 2017 and 2018 increasing from 68 to 192. It was the first time school attacks increased since 2015. The ongoing conflict and rapidly deteriorating security situation across the country left more than 1,000 schools closed by the end of 2018 denying half a million children their right to education during the course of the year.

Worsening insecurity, high rates of poverty and persistent discrimination against girls caused the rate of out-of-school children to increase last year for the first time since 2002. An estimated 3.7 million children between the ages of 7 and 17 are out of school in Afghanistan. Girls account for 60 per cent of children not in school.

Between January and May 2019, the Education in Emergencies Working Group provided support to 38,432 children in informal and accelerated community-based education including the establishment of 1,123 community classrooms, recruiting and training of 1,444 teachers as well as the distribution of education supplies for 42,934 children. Additionally, to respond to the increasing number of schools impacted by insecurity, the Working Group and its partners are working with the Ministry of Education to ensure the safety of schools, their staff and students, and teachers. These measures aim to reduce the risk of insecurity on the way to school, as well as support the Ministry of Education and local population in developing protection mechanisms in schools, prevent the closure of schools and ensure the timely re-opening of schools that are currently closed.

Our school was burned, destroyed

Kayenat said her family fled intense fighting two years ago in the Shinwar district in the eastern province of Nangarhar. “Our school was burned, destroyed,” she said. By the time they left, Kayenat could not attend classes anyway. “Girls weren’t allowed to go to school.”

Her story is a familiar one in a country where, despite progress on improving access to education over the past decade, girls and children with disabilities remain especially vulnerable.

Faced with an impossible choice between his children’s education and their safety, Kayenat’s father decided to move his family to Jalalabad, the provincial capital. But even as the situation felt increasingly hopeless, Kayenat remained determined to return to school.

Since she enrolled at a temporary learning space established by UNICEF, she is feeling more hopeful about her future. She said that she is doing well in mathematics and Pashto language classes. When asked about her most important consideration for a future career: Kayenat said it is finding a job that allows her to support her siblings.

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Afghanistan

Situation Report
Visuals and Data (48 days ago)
Child smiling
Photo: WHO

Humanitarian Needs: Health*

Number of people to be assisted: 1.5M

Number of people reached: 621,000 (consultations)

Funding required: 51.4M (US$)

Funding received: 6.1M ** (US$)

*HRP 2019

** FTS

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Afghanistan

Situation Report
Analysis (50 days ago)

Access to healthcare remains out of reach for many Afghans

Contribution from the Health Cluster

Abdul and his thirteen-year-old son, Barkatullah, travelled 80km (50 miles) from home in Uruzgan to seek medical care when Barkatullah was caught in a blast. He was treated in a trauma hospital in Lashkargah supported by the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund that serves a population of about one million people in one of the most conflict affected regions. Although Barkatullah survived his injuries’, he lost his right arm and leg. As he practiced standing on a walker 30 seconds at a time, ongoing rehabilitation will be a challenge.

Access to quality primary healthcare remains uneven across the country. Nearly a third (31 per cent) of the population of Afghanistan needs to travel more than 5 km to receive basic health services. The most under-served provinces are Badakhshan, Farah, Ghor, Hilmand, Nuristan, Panjsher and Zabul where 60 per cent of the population are more than two hours away from any health facility. (National Statistics and Information Authority, 2019)

Only 27 per cent of displaced women and less than 20 per cent of women in conflict-affected areas received one or more antenatal visit compared with 64 per cent nationally. Armed conflict and insecurity continue to impact access to healthcare. Escalating conflict caused more deaths than drought and flood combined in 2018. Afghanistan currently has among the highest number of attacks on healthcare affecting more than three million Afghans.

Between 6 and 9 July, three separate attacks in Ghazni, Ghor and Maidan Wardak Provinces resulted in the death of five health workers employed by non-governmental organizations. A statement by Toby Lanzer, UN Humanitarian Coordinator on attacks on healthcare in Afghanistan is available online.

Despite all the challenges, some progress in primary healthcare in Afghanistan has been made such as ensuring that rural women who received a skilled birth attendant increased from 51 per cent to 60 per cent between 2003 and 2018. There has also been a decline in under-five mortality rate over the past years with the estimated rate of 69/1000 falling to 50/1000 in the past 10 years (Afghanistan Health Survey 2018).

As of 2019, 29 per cent of the population are now within two hours of a functional blood bank and trauma care unit compared to 12 per cent in 2014 attributed mainly to humanitarian action.

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Afghanistan

Situation Report
Visuals and Data (48 days ago)
Mother and child
Photo: UNICEF

Humanitarian Needs: Nutrition*

Number of people to be assisted: 960,303

Number of people reached (March 2019): 133,000

Funding required: 57.6M (US$)

Funding received: 22.4M** (US$)

*HRP 2019

**FTS

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Afghanistan

Situation Report
Analysis (50 days ago)

Malnutrition threatens the lives of millions of vulnerable people in Afghanistan

Contribution from the Nutrition Cluster

Helal Ahmad, two months old, is from Chenaki Payan village in Parwan Province approximately 114 kilometers from Kabul. His mother, Wahida, said he had been vomiting and crying continuously for three days. “When I brought my son to the hospital, the doctors diagnosed him as suffering from severe acute malnutrition,” she said. Not having access to diverse foods for mothers and children, proper hygiene and safe drinking water, as well as to health services are some of the reasons why children become malnourished. “We eat a loaf of bread with a cup of boiled water at dinner. Sometimes my children sleep without having dinner. We barely make it from one day to the next,” said Wahida.

The devastating combination of drought, conflict and insecurity in 2018 continues to exacerbate the nutritional status of vulnerable people in Afghanistan. In 2019, an estimated two million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished in Afghanistan, compared with 1.3 million in 2017.

Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is a life threatening condition, which if left untreated can lead to an 11-fold increased risk of dying. In Afghanistan, 600,000 children are suffering from SAM while 45 per cent of children under five are micronutrient deficient. Recent nutrition surveys across Afghanistan established that 22 out of 34 provinces are currently above the emergency threshold for acute malnutrition. A further 485,000 pregnant and lactating women are also affected by acute malnutrition. The burden is particularly heavy in provinces, where conflict, political fragility and drought are prevalent.

Response is ongoing to focus on increasing coverage, integration with health services and reducing costs to increase delivery. However, around one million acutely malnourished children and 120,000 children with SAM will not have access to life-saving services if uninterrupted funding is not secured.

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