Summary of operation update:
In addition to the recent changes in political situation of Afghanistan, severe drought, COVID-19, and the internal displacements due to conflict and drought have been driving factors of the humanitarian crises in Afghanistan. Therefore, considering all these factors, ARCS and IFRC launched a revised Emergency Appeal.
Based on the revised operation strategy, the scope of operation is expanded, and additional thematic areas of focus added such as shelter and settlements, and migration. According to the revised Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA), 80,000 households will be assisted within 24 months across 18 provinces of Afghanistan: 560,000 people (male 274,400, and female 285,600). The overall budget for this Emergency Appeal has been increased from CHF 15 million to 36 million and the DREF loan of CHF 500,000 increased to CHF 1 million.
As reported in Operation Update No. 2, ARCS provided cash for food assistance to 3,500 households in Badghis, Baghlan, and Faryab provinces. Due to the cash unavailability and disruption of banking services, the cash modality has thence been changed into in-kind.
Procurement of food and non-food items for this emergency appeal and two DREF funded flood operations (MDRAF008 and MDRAF009) will be conducted by the resourcing hub established in Islamabad, Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan (for items that are available in market). By October 2021 the majority of the procurement process was finalized. The majority of the items will arrive in November/December 2021 and will be distributed in December before the winter season gets harsher.
A. SITUATION ANALYSIS
Description of the disaster
The situation in Afghanistan remains highly fluid after the change of government in August 2021. Since then, various public services were halted and disrupted due to the uncertainties. The country is going through a change process, and it is expected that the situation will remain fluid in the coming months. Along with the political shift, the combination of natural disasters, severe drought, flooding and COVID-19 pandemic had increased the humanitarian needs exponentially and the country is on the brink of collapsing if the humanitarian and development services are not provided immediately. The security situation remains unpredictable with reports of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) explosions throughout the country causing injuries and deaths to both civilians and the personnel of Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan.
As of 31 October 2021, 680,000 people were displaced by conflict with almost one million returnees from Iran and Pakistan registered. Winterisation assessment had been conducted by multiple agencies to prepare for the upcoming winter season. UN published a flash appeal of USD 606 million to further accelerate the humanitarian assistance. However, the humanitarian funding ask continues to be largely unfulfilled as the number of people under poverty increased to over 90 per cent of the population.
The Food Security Cluster reported that the La Nina phenomenon is currently active and will be going into the winter of 2021 till the spring of 2022. The conditions are likely to strengthen and peak during the winter season (until the end of February 2022) and will only start weakening in spring or summer. Lower than average precipitation is forecasted from December 2021 to February 2022 and below-average snowfall may lead to lower–than–average snowpack formation during the winter months which will have an adverse impact for the availability of water for irrigation in spring-summer months. 22.8 million people are projected to be in IPC Phase 3+ and ten out of 11 urban areas are in IPC Phase 4. That means over half of the population of the country, 55 per cent, are enduring crisis or emergency levels of acute food insecurity. The continuous drought will cause a reduction in wheat cultivation and will further create insecurity in food access, weaken production of agricultural produce and adversely impact the livestock health as well as the coping capacities of farmers.
The disruption in the health system due to freeze on funding by the World Bank, the Sehatmandi Project, a multi-donor funded project that strove to increase the utilization and quality of health, nutrition, and family planning services through more than 20,000 health workers across 2,309 health facilities, had upended the health services in the country. As a quick response to this, WHO and UNICEF through the funding from UN Central Emergency Response Fund are supporting the implementing agencies until the end of the year. The fourth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic is expected in winter and currently, there is still a lack of funding for operating the designated COVID -19 hospitals functions which will create a disastrous impact in the country. In October, there is the detection of cholera, measles and dengue outbreaks in Kabul, Wardak and Nangarhar provinces. The cases of acute watery diarrhoea have also increased in Kabul in October.