Evolution of the crisis
Increasing breadths of the country are getting drawn into conflict. 2016 is likely to see continued or increased contest for control between NSAGs and Government security forces leading to more people needing humanitarian and protection assistance.
Afghanistan’s National Security Forces (ANSF) are becoming increasingly stretched as they engage with non-state armed groups (NSAG) on multiple fronts, fighting in an expanding number of contested districts. The increase in provinces affected by conflict became a distinguishing characteristic of 2015. With the withdrawal of the bulk of international military forces, fighting is now characterised by intensified armed clashes and a substantial increase in NSAG attacks on district centres. In 2015, 23 district administrative centres had at one time or another been captured by NSAGs, compared to only three in 2014. Intensified fighting and growing fear caused by insecurity and intimidation displaced thousands of people throughout Afghanistan in 2015. Projections for 2016 estimate as many as 250,000 people will require assistance as they flee their homes. As the situation remains fluid and instability and conflict become more widespread the likelihood of displaced families feeling sufficiently safe to return home is lessened; increasing numbers find themselves in situations of prolonged displacement.
Internally Displaced People, Refugees, Returnees and Migrants
Cumulative figures of people displaced by conflict over the past 15 years amount to approximately 1.1 million people. As a result of widespread and increased conflict, figures for 2015 suggest that the number of people who fled their homes to escape armed violence and seek refuge had increased by 64% compared to the same period in 2014; this amounts to almost 200,000 people in one year. The reporting and verification of the total numbers displaced is constrained due to the ability of humanitarian actors to access insecure and contested areas.
Afghanistan has also become a host country for refugees from neighbouring North Waziristan Agency, since the Pakistan military began clearance operations in June 2014. The 225,000 refugees that Afghanistan has been hosting are expected to decrease in 2016 partly as a result of improved biometric registration and partly due to the expectation that some will begin to return home. However, an estimated 175,000 are expected to remain for the foreseeable future.
2015 once again revealed Afghanistan’s substantial exposure to natural disasters. While the first six months of the year were below average for the number of people affected by flooding and extreme weather events, the country was rocked by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in October which claimed the lives of more than one hundred people and left more than 127,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance. Data from the past decade suggests that on average, 235,000 people are affected by natural disasters annually, including floods, earthquakes, landslides and droughts.
In 2016, approximately one million children will need treatment for acute malnutrition. The effect of acute malnutrition makes common diseases, like diarrhoea, respiratory infections and measles, life-threatening. Large parts of the country have reported malnutrition levels above emergency thresholds yet only an estimated 40% of severely malnourished children are admitted for treatment, of which around 10% are not cured. Coverage of public health facilities is less than 60% and of these only 34% of facilities provide malnutrition treatment. Not enough is known about the causes of acute malnutrition in Afghanistan. Most mothers do not understand when their child is sick owing to malnutrition, thus presenting one of the biggest blockages for effectively identifying and treating them.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.