Afghanistan Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 59 | 01 - 31 December 2016

HIGHLIGHTS

• The humanitarian community is seeking US$550 million to provide assistance to 5.7 million of the most vulnerable and marginalised Afghans in 2017.

• EMERGENCY’s new maternity center in Panjshir province will help tackle Afghanistan’s infant and maternal mortality rates, which remain among the highest in the world.

• Children account for 84 per cent of casualties from landmines and UXO in Afghanistan. Mine risk education is an important tool to protect people – including children and displaced families – from this potential deadly risk.

• Food insecurity in Afghanistan is on the rise. MEDAIR are assisting farmers affected by food insecurity in Bamyan.

HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE PLAN 2016 FUNDING 3

39 million MYR revised request (US$)

197.2 million received (US$)

FLASH APPEAL 2016 FUNDING

152 million request (US$)

91.2 million pledges & contributions (US$)

The Flash Appeal ended in 2016, and continuing needs for people on the move are reflected in the 2017 HRP.

(Reflects funding on Financial Tracking Service as of 31 Dec 2016)
Source: http://fts.unocha.org

2017 HRP Afghanistan: 9.3 Million in Need

In 2017, the humanitarian community in Afghanistan is seeking US$550 million to meet, through collective and coordinated action, the acute life-saving needs of the most vulnerable and marginalised Afghans. Almost one third of the population, some 9.3 million people, will be in need of humanitarian assistance, a 13 per cent increase from last year. The principal goal of the humanitarian response remains focused on preventing loss of life, limiting preventable morbidity and human suffering and enhancing protection for displaced persons, civilians and returnees caught up in the conflict.
Therefore, an estimated 5.7 million people will be targeted for assistance under the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan is one of the most protracted humanitarian emergencies in the world.
Tragically for many Afghans, 2016 saw no let-up in the conflict,” said the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, Mark Bowden. “This Humanitarian Response Plan is focused on meeting immediate life-saving needs; providing relief to Afghans affected by natural disaster and conflict and trauma care for war wounded patients.

Treatment to children with acute malnutrition, access to skilled birth attendance and maternal and new-born care in conflict stricken and hard to access districts, and ensuring the safety and security of families fleeing violence are also priorities”.

Corresponding with the growing severity and reach of the conflict, the humanitarian community identified needs across all regions, with the most severe in areas experiencing the greatest levels of violence as well as the adjacent provinces hosting the displaced.

For families facing sudden emergencies – conflict, disaster and displacement, the humanitarian response is often their only lifeline. In addition to those displaced by natural disasters, in 2016, more than 623,000 people in Afghanistan fled their homes due to conflict, the highest number on record, and a 30 per cent increase compared with 2015. This has occurred at the same time as the return of more than 600,000 Afghans from Pakistan and Iran. The 2017 HRP estimates at least another 450,000 IDPs this year, and as many as a million more returns are expected from Pakistan and Iran.

Around 56 per cent of the displaced are children, who face particular risk of abuse and exploitation, as well as interrupted school attendance and harmful child labour. Multiple forms of GBV, particularly early and forced marriage, domestic, psychological and sexual abuse are reported, affecting individuals in hosting and displaced communities alike.

In addition to meeting the immediate needs of the displaced, the 2017 HRP recognises that despite a decade of exceptionally high levels of international assistance, the poverty rate in Afghanistan has increased since 2011 and will likely further increase in 2017.
Over past years, the humanitarian community has been hesitant to divert limited available humanitarian funding to cover growing gaps in government delivery of basic services. But as the conflict expands, and with it the challenges in access to quality and safe healthcare, the humanitarian community is confronting heightened levels of preventable deaths. Estimates suggest over nine million Afghans have limited or no access to essential health services, including women who are pregnant and during childbirth, contributing to very high rates of infant and maternal mortality. Severe food insecurity is also on the rise: 40 per cent of the population are food insecure. In addition, severe acute malnutrition has breached emergency thresholds in 20 provinces, and over 1 million children need treatment for acute malnutrition.

While working to avoid overreliance on humanitarian services, the 2017 HRP prioritises activities with the potential to have the greatest impact on reducing loss of life, by complementing and enhancing basic service delivery to the most at risk, and in particular to those in NSAG-held territories, typically out of reach to government providers. This will ensure greater proportionality of humanitarian coverage. Years of growing insecurity in Afghanistan has had a debilitating impact on the ability and the willingness of humanitarian agencies to ensure reactive, flexible presence, which is responsive to meet the needs of people most impacted by the crisis. Insecurity too often dictates where agencies operate, resulting in unequal coverage of needs.

The 2017 HRP also addresses the changing nature of displacement. With more Afghans than ever before living an ambiguous and transitory existence in prolonged and protracted displacement, it is necessary to focus on meeting the needs of those who live in semi-permanent crisis.

Assessments continue to highlight the particular needs of protracted IDP communities, and increased competition for meagre resources with host communities. IDPs, often with rural skillsets and limited literacy, have limited access to labour opportunities. Women in particular find it very difficult to find work, or often are not permitted to work.

In addition, the absence of camp settings in Afghanistan and the urban nature of displacement has posed additional challenges on the humanitarian community in the identification of the humanitarian needs and the most vulnerable families. Eliminating vulnerability and ensuring safety, dignity and the ability to thrive and be self-reliant over the long term is well beyond the scope and capacity of humanitarian actions. However, greater coordination and synergy between humanitarian assistance and longer-term development efforts can ensure this extremely vulnerable population with acute humanitarian needs is not falling through the gap.

The Government and Humanitarian Community will jointly launch the 2017 HRP on 21 January 2017 at Sepidar Palace. The humanitarian community are welcome to attend this event; please contact UN OCHA Afghanistan if you are interested.

To download the 2017 HRP and the 2017 Humanitarian Needs Overview, please visit: https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/operations/afghanistan

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.