2016 Afghanistan Humanitarian Needs Overview

Humanitarian needs

Afghanistan’s civilian population continues to bear the brunt of a conflict growing in intensity and geographic scope. The September battle for the provincial capital, Kunduz, shows how fighting in 2015 has moved closer to towns and cities. The increased impact of the conflict on Afghan life is seen in the number of civilian casualties, heightened fear and uncertainty, and recurrent displacement. Widespread conflict affects the lives of at least 6.3 million Afghans and by September had contributed to 197,000 people fleeing their homes - a 64% increase from 2014. International Humanitarian Law and protection violations are reported including targeted killings and forced recruitment of children. In the South East, 225,000 people who fled North Waziristan Agency in 2014 remain caught in what is becoming a protracted refugee crisis. Many vulnerable Afghan refugees also returned from neighbouring countries in 2015, many owing to pressure and intimidation. More Afghans have sought asylum in Europe in 2015, lacking hope in the future of the country. Overall, an already vulnerable population is exposed to greater risks of violence, are increasingly forced to flee their homes and livelihoods, and face high levels of malnutrition in a country where more than 70% of the population live in chronic poverty. '

1 Protection of civilians

2015 saw a significant increase in violent conflict; approximately 25,000 security incidents were reported and 8,346 civilians killed and injured between January and September. Armed clashes have significantly increased and moved closer to populated areas; 80 districts are now considered highly conflict affected. As a result a large-scale protection crisis is gripping up to 6.3 million people, increasingly affecting women and children.

2 Conflict displacement

Mounting numbers of people are fleeing the violence, with greater numbers abandoning their homes and communities across the country seeking refuge. Support to them however is minimal, and access to housing, water, education and health services is severely inadequate. Forced to live in precarious and insecure conditions, the risk of abuse, including the sale of children into early marriage, prevails.
They are unlikely to return home while the threat of violence remains.

3 Access to health

Growing violence has accentuated acute deficiencies in emergency health services and trauma management. Conflict further disrupts already inadequate access to basic health care. Approximately 40% of the population live in areas where there is no public health service coverage. The context of population displacement, inadequate shelter, insufficient and unsafe water and poor sanitation pose significant risk factors associated with outbreaks of communicable disease.

4 Treatment of acute malnutrition

Levels of acute malnutrition have surpassed emergency thresholds in 17 of 34 provinces. One million children need treatment and one in ten pregnant and lactating women are malnourished, increasing the susceptibility of their children to malnutrition.

1.57 million people are severely food insecure, and women and children, always the most vulnerable to food shortages, are at greater risk of malnutrition related death and disease.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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