GLIDE n°: DR-2021-000022-AFG
Summary of operation update:
Despite challenges in the country (drought worsening; financial institutions collapsing; winter season), ARCS and IFRC have stayed functional since the beginning of the EA. Activities performed by ARCS from November 2021 to May 2022 included assessment of 38,062 households, distribution of 27,650 food parcels, 5,250 hygiene kits, 1,250 household kits and 3,500 winterization kits to 29,200 households in 14 provinces during this period. The remaining distribution in Balkh, Kunduz, Bamyan, Farah and Nangarhar provinces will be completed in May 2022.
Due to the combination of drought and economic hardship, nearly 20 million Afghans are in IPC phases 3 or 4. For the first time since the introduction of IPC in Afghanistan, catastrophe conditions (IPC 5) have been detected for 20,000 people in the province of Ghor. This demonstrates that immediate action is needed to prevent further deterioration.
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 Badakhshan is one of the provinces massively affected by drought. 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).
Agreements are in place with two financial service providers (FSPs) and preparation for cash distribution to 7,000 households: 6,000 in Kabul and 1,000 Panjshir, is in progress. This distribution will be completed in June 2022.
Up to 1 June 2022, funding coverage for the Emergency Appeal stood at CHF19,915,595 million (55.3 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.
In view of an anticipated expansion of humanitarian assistance to be covered by ARCS, the National Society has requested IFRC to revise the Emergency Appeal (EA) and its operational strategy. Modification of the EA is underway, and a revision is expected to be issued by mid of June 2022.
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 has 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 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. 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.
According to the latest IPC report1 as of May 2022, around 19.7 million people (47 per cent of the population) are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC category 3 and above), of whom 20,000 are facing catastrophe levels (IPC category 5). From June to November 2022, the harvest season is expected to improve slightly but remains dire for most of the affected population. Most of the reduction in food insecurity is due to humanitarian food assistance, which will not be sustainable as the assistance is projected to reduce from 30 per cent to 8 per cent in the second half of the year.
Even before changes in the country’s administration, Afghan economy was crumbling under the Covid -19 Pandemic, drought, intensified conflict, and loss of investor confidence. Most development assistance stopped with enforced restrictions on funding and cash fluidity in the country. The most obvious and direct cause of the problem that immediately affected the people was the freezing of National Bank’s reserves which led to the central bank running out of cash, and as a result, the work force (public and private sectors) in Afghanistan is unable to withdraw money even up to restricted amounts, inflation is soaring, and many are on the brink of starvation.
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.