This report is produced by OCHA Afghanistan in collaboration with humanitarian partners via clusters. It covers activities carried out between 11-17 May 2020.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 8,145 people across all 34 provinces. 187 people have died and 930 recovered.
Since the start of the crisis, partners have delivered WASH assistance and hygiene promotion activities to more than 983,496 people and provided more than 74,000 men, women, boys and girls with psychosocial support to deal with the mental health-related consequences of the pandemic.
The response to COVID-19 is taking place against a backdrop of continued violence. UNAMA’s latest preliminary figures indicate a trend of escalating civilian casualties in April from operations conducted by all parties to the conflict. The United Nations is deeply concerned by the increase in civilian harm and the deterioration of parties’ respect for international humanitarian law, demonstrated by the recent attacks on healthcare facilities, threats to healthcare workers and occupation of health facilities, failures to take all feasible precautions in the conduct of airstrikes, and the indiscriminate use of explosives in civilian-populated areas. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability of affected people to access health services is critical. Humanitarians urge all parties to the conflict to facilitate unfettered access of civilian populations to humanitarian assistance and to take additional measures to ensure civilians, humanitarians, and critical infrastructure are safeguarded.
MoPH data shows that 8,145 people across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan have tested positive for COVID-19. Some 930 people have recovered, and 187 people have died. 12 healthcare workers are among those who have died from COVID-19. The majority of fatalities were people between the ages of 40 and 69. Men between the ages of 40 and 69 represent more than half of all COVID-19-related deaths. Cases are expected to increase rapidly over the weeks ahead as community transmission escalates, creating grave implications for Afghanistan’s economy and people’s well-being. Kabul is the most affected part of the country, followed by Hirat, Kandahar and Balkh.
A number of provinces have instituted measures to limit the exposure of residents to COVID-19. Throughout the country, these ‘measured lockdowns’ have resulted in closures of sections of each city, increased numbers of checkpoints and/or imposition of movement limitations. Reports indicate that despite assurances by the Government that these would not limit critical program movements of NGOs and the UN, the measures continue to impact on the mobility of humanitarian organisations, delaying the delivery of assistance and negatively affecting access to humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian partners remain active in responding to crises throughout the country and continue to urge the Government to employ a national approach to these movement issues so that individual negotiations are not required on a case-by-case basis.
Humanitarians remain concerned about the impact of extended lockdown measures on the most-vulnerable, particularly families who rely on casual daily labour and lack alternative income sources. According to WFP’s market monitoring, the price of wheat flour (low price) has increased by 19 per cent between 14 March and 18 May, while the cost of pulses, sugar, cooking oil and rice (low quality) increased by 13 per cent, 8 per cent, 21 per cent, and 6 per cent, respectively, over the same period. FSAC partners have also noted that the purchasing power of casual labourers and pastoralists has deteriorated by 15 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively (compared to 14th March).
While implementing activities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, humanitarians continue to respond to other ongoing and emerging humanitarian needs. Conflict and natural disasters across the country continue to displace thousands of families, compounding pre-existing vulnerabilities and making them potentially more susceptible to serious consequences from COVID-19. During this week’s reporting period, partners have responded to the needs of 500 families affected by flooding with emergency NFI assistance. 674 women and girls were provided with dignity and sanitary packages in Bamyan and Balkh provinces. 35,319 children aged 6-59 months received Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) lifesaving treatment services between March and April 2020 by Nutrition partners. An additional 2,776 children aged 6-59 months received vitamin A during the same period. 64 GBV cases were identified and referred to Family Protection Centres (FPCs) in Kandahar and Balkh provinces. 3,032 border monitoring interviews were carried out by Protection partners in Zaranj town as well as Islam Qala, Spin Boldak and Torkham border crossing sites. As part of its regular programming, WFP has continued to respond to ongoing food needs, distributing food to more than 423,395 food insecure people over the past week.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.