Afghanistan + 3 more

Afghanistan - Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 (January 12, 2021)



18.4 MILLION People in Afghanistan Requiring Humanitarian Assistance in 2021
UN – Dec. 2020

14.5 MILLION People Projected to Require Emergency Health Services in 2021
UN – Dec. 2020

332,920 People Displaced by Conflict During 2020
UN – Dec. 2020

104,170 People Affected by Natural Disasters During 2020
UN – Dec. 2020

865,793 Total Undocumented Returnees to Afghanistan in 2020
UN – Dec. 2020

  • COVID-19 contributes to significant increase in acute food insecurity across the country.

  • Fighting between government and nonstate forces prompts the displacement of thousands of people in southern Afghanistan.

  • Afghanistan receives record number of undocumented returnees in 2020, primarily from Iran.


Deteriorating Food Security Conditions Approach 2018 Drought Levels

Acute food insecurity conditions across Afghanistan continue to worsen and are projected to approach levels of severity similar to those observed during the 2018/2019 drought, according to the 2021 UN Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO). According to the UN, the number of people experiencing severe levels of acute food insecurity increased from 13.9 million in November 2019 to approximately 16.9 million people, representing 42 percent of Afghanistan’s population, in November 2020.5 The main driver of deteriorating food security conditions is the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the HNO, which notes that approximately 55 percent of households surveyed for the 2020 Seasonal Food Security Assessment reported loss of employment during 2020, while nearly 60 percent reported reduced income. Separately, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) projected that up to 5 million people would experience acute food insecurity between January and April 2021, noting that food security conditions for households in northern provinces are expected to worsen due to the effects of La Niña, which will likely result in below-average harvests. The health and socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, deteriorating food security conditions, conflictrelated displacement and protection risks, and a recent increase in population estimates have contributed to an increase in the total number of people in the country in need of humanitarian assistance. An estimated 18.4 million people are projected to require humanitarian assistance in 2021, compared to 14 million people in June 2020 and 9.4 million in January 2020, according to the HNO.

Clashes in Southern Afghanistan Trigger Additional Displacement

Fighting between Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and a non-state armed group (NSAG) in southern Afghanistan since mid-October has disrupted humanitarian services, damaged or destroyed medical facilities, and displaced at least 33,700 people across Helmand, Kandahar, and Uruzgan provinces, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports. As of early November, humanitarian actors had identified more than 15,200 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Helmand, approximately 3,500 IDPs in Kandahar, and an estimated 10,000 IDPs in Uruzgan in need of humanitarian assistance. Active fighting, increased risks from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and threats to health workers have resulted in partial or total closures of several health facilities in the region, and had adversely affected nearly 140,000 people across the three provinces as of November 18, according to relief actors. In response to the violence, the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority and local officials coordinated the delivery of food baskets and safe drinking water to IDPs in Helmand and Kandahar, while relief organizations, including USG partners, distributed cash and food assistance, shelter commodities, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) items to affected households across all three provinces, reaching 13,000 IDPs between November 30 and December 6.

USAID/BHA partner the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provided safe drinking water to more than 700 IDPs in Helmand during November and December. Meanwhile, the security situation remained unstable in central, eastern, northeastern, and western Afghanistan, with airstrikes, fighting, and IED detonations resulting in civilian casualties and humanitarian access constraints. Divided territorial control, instability, and weak governance in Afghanistan continue to hinder the provision of humanitarian aid.