Afghanistan + 2 more

Afghanistan: Humanitarian Crises Operation Update Report n° 4 Emergency Appeal n° MDRAF007

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Summary of operation update:

Despite challenges in the country (drought worsening; financial institutions collapsing; winter season, etc.), ARCS and IFRC stayed functional. Activities performed by ARCS from November 2021 to January 2022 include assessment of nearly 23,200 households, distribution of 27150 food parcels, 5,000 hygiene kits, 1,000 household kits and 3,500 winterization kits to 21,700 households in 14 provinces during this period. The remaining distribution in Sari-e-Pol and Dikundi provinces will be completed in February 2022.

Due to the increasing needs in the country, two more provinces, Panjshir and Badakhshan were added to this appeal:
Panjshir is impacted by an ongoing conflict and in need of humanitarian assistance and also Badakhshan is one of the provinces massively affected by drought and over 60 per cent of its population are living in Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) phase 3 and IPC phase 4 of food security. Due to the gap in humanitarian services in the provinces, ARCS had expanded its reach to also include Badakhshan and Panjshir provinces. In Panjshir, some 1,900 food parcels were distributed in 4 districts and similarly, 2,000 food parcels and 1,000 household kits were distributed in Badakhshan province. Nuristan province was removed from the initially targeted areas since it received similar support under a DREF operation (MDRAF009).

Up to 31 January 2022, funding coverage for the Emergency Appeal stood at CHF 8.4 million (23.3 per cent). IFRC together with the National Society thanks partners and donors who have so far been able to contribute. Significant gaps remain in these areas/sectors: Livelihoods and Basic needs, Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), and National Society capacity building.

IFRC and ARCS call on partners and the international community to show support and solidarity by contributing to the Emergency Appeal. Funding is crucial to enabling ARCS to deliver urgent assistance to children, women and men who have been affected by the severe drought compounded by displacement and with the severe need to access emergency health.

A. SITUATION ANALYSIS

Description of the disaster

The situation in Afghanistan remains highly fluid after the change of government in August 2021. 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 the COVID-19 pandemic increased the humanitarian needs exponentially. 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.

In 2021, 698,000 people were displaced by conflict with almost one million returnees from Iran and Pakistan registered. UN published a flash appeal of USD 4,4 Billion to further accelerate the humanitarian assistance. However, the humanitarian funding ask continues to be largely unfulfilled. By the end of 2021, the number of people under poverty increased to over 90 per cent of the population.

The Food Security Cluster reported that the La Niña phenomenon is currently predominant until the spring of 2022. The conditions are likely to start weakening only in spring or summer. Lower than average precipitation was seen from December 2021 to February 2022 and below-average snowfall led to lower–than–average snowpack formation during the winter months which will have an adverse impact on 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 country’s population, 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 2022. The fourth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic is expected currently, while there is still a lack of funding for operating the designated COVID-19 hospital functions. There is a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in January 2022 compared to December 2021. In October 2021, cholera, and dengue outbreaks were detected in Kabul, Wardak and Nangarhar provinces. Measles has been reported across the country and constitute a major public health issue. The cases of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) have also increased in Kabul since October 2021. AWD is the second biggest cause of death in the country overall. Recently malaria cases have been reported in Laghman province.