Children face extreme violence in Afghanistan with targeted attacks against schools and mosques, as well as air-strikes and explosive remnants of war (ERW) killing at least 34 children in April.
Measles cases continue to rise with 41,085 cases and 270 deaths since the start of the year, as do acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) cases with a heightened risk of cholera outbreaks as the weather warms.
UNICEF continues to increase its AWD/Cholera preparedness and prevention activities reaching 299,431 people with AWD/Cholera messaging and 328,130 people with critical hygiene supplies.
Over 4.6 million people were reached at UNICEF supported primary health care facilities including 1.52 million children under-five and 219,245 persons with disabilities.
During the reporting period, 40,758 children were treated for Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) - a 14% increase since March.
UNICEF-supported mobile health and nutrition teams reached around 130,000 people in remote and hard to reach areas in April.
With UNICEF support more than 175,000 children and caregivers received life-saving child protection services including psycho-social support and case-management.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Children in Afghanistan continue to face extreme violence and grave rights violations. On 16 April, at least 20 children were killed in their homes as they slept due to airstrikes that hit the provinces of Khost and Kunar. In Khost, twelve girls and three boys were killed in the airstrikes; while in Kunar, three girls and two boys were killed. On 19 April, at least nine children were reportedly killed and more than fifty injured in coordinated attacks targeting two education facilities in western Kabul - Mumtaz Tuition Center and Abdul Raheem Shaheed High School. On 29 April, a deadly explosion at the Khalifa Sahib mosque, located in the Darulaman area in the west of Kabul killed at least 10 people. Local hospitals reported far higher casualty figures, with dozens said to be killed and injured, including an unconfirmed number of children. The day before, coordinated attacks
In another incident, on 1 April, five children (one girl and four boys) were killed when an explosive remnant of war (ERW) detonated in Marjah District, Helmand Province. Two other children, a boy and a girl, were also injured in the explosion. In Afghanistan, in the last seven months, 301 children were either killed or injured by explosive remnants of war and landmines. The real figure is thought to be much higher.
In April, the delay on secondary education for girls remained in place. However, in nine provinces, some schools were open for girls at secondary level. Inconsistency in the adoption of this policy was evident with differences in school attendance between districts reported within provinces. In some districts, pressure from local communities led to girls from grade 7 – 12 being allowed to return to school. It is estimated that around 70% of the children are back in primary education, and over 80% of the boys in secondary education (perception data). These numbers seem to be consistent with previous statistical data. In general, the key factor pushing children out of education is poverty. Children that are not in school are more at risk to be exposed to child labour, recruitment into armed forces, child trafficking and child marriage.
Measles cases continue to rise with 41,085 cases of measles and 270 deaths recorded since the start of 2022. The most affected provinces are Kunduz (12.0%), Badakhshan (10.4%), Kabul (8.3%), Nangarhar (8.0%), Helmand (6.9%) and Herat (5.2%). The number of suspected measles cases in the 49 districts where the measles outbreak campaign was conducted in March shows a decline over a four-week period. Under this intervention, 1.28 million children aged 6-59 months were vaccinated against measles. Discussions are underway between UNICEF, WHO and the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) to extend the campaign to other districts in the country for a nationwide vaccination campaign. Additional infectious diseases were also reported, including acute watery diarrhea (AWD) with Kabul, Kapisa, Zabul, Kandahar, Laghman and Logar provinces remaining the most affected. Central, Southern and Northern Regions face a heightened risk of a significant increase in AWD/Cholera cases as the weather warms and access to safe water remains challenging. UNICEF estimates that 3.2 million children in Afghanistan will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022, and a million severely malnourished children are at risk of death, if immediate action is not taken. Diarrheal diseases worsen the nutrition situation putting children with severe acute malnutrition at further risk of death. Acute malnutrition and diarrheal diseases create a vicious cycle, each making the other more severe and more likely to occur.