Afghanistan is descending into the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Amidst the backdrop of an already dire situation following 40 years of war, economic decline, price increases, and rising poverty, in 2021 the people of Afghanistan faced intensified conflict, the worst drought in 27 years, the withdrawal of international forces and then the takeover of the country by the Taliban in August. 24.4 million people – 55 per cent of the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2022, a staggering 30 per cent increase from last year.
The main driver of the rise in humanitarian need is a dangerous increase in acute food insecurity, with almost 23 million people facing acute hunger, including 8.7 million people at emergency levels (IPC4). All 34 provinces are facing crisis or emergency levels of acute food insecurity. Rising food insecurity coinciding with the potential collapse of basic health systems services would leave 1.1 million acutely malnourished children under the age of five years without access to treatment services and up to 131,000 children could die this year if no action is taken.
Both the formal and informal economies have suffered dramatically due to disruption to markets, financial and trade mechanisms, the freezing of central bank reserves and loans, and the sudden drop in direct international development assistance, which formerly accounted for 75 per cent of public expenditures. The deteriorating economy has led to an immediate GDP contraction of an estimated 40 per cent, throwing people into critical need.
Following the record displacement of nearly 700,000 people in 2021, some 9.2 million IDPs and returnees remain in some form of displacement and in need of support to return where possible. Of the 24.4 million people in need of humanitarian and protection assistance, humanitarian partners have prioritized 22.1 million people to receive well-coordinated multi-sector assistance in 2022, for which US$4.44 billion is required.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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