This report is produced by OCHA Afghanistan in collaboration with humanitarian partners via clusters. This report covers activities carried out between 16 and 30 September 2021. It aims to provide a frequent overview of response activities against the needs articulated in the Flash Appeal. The reporting timeframe will match the Flash Appeal which details a fourmonth – from 1 September to 31 December 2021 – strategic response to the current crisis. The plan draws largely on unmet needs detailed in the 2021 HRP (Humanitarian Response Plan) while also incorporating new emerging needs, as they are currently understood.
The next ICCT Real-Time Response Overview Situation Report will be released on 20 October and cover activities carried out between 1 and 15 October.
Humanitarians seek US$606 million as part of the Flash Appeal to provide prioritised multi-sectoral assistance to 11 million people in the four remaining months of 2021. Donors are urged to fast-track funding for known humanitarian needs to mitigate against avoidable deaths, prevent displacement and reduce suffering. Donors are also urged to ensure that funding is flexible enough to adapt to the fast-changing conditions on the ground. As at 6 October, the Flash Appeal remained only 35 per cent funded, with a shortfall of some $394 million.
Humanitarians are concerned about reports of "conditional humanitarianism" or attempts to “leverage” humanitarian assistance for political purposes. Humanitarian action should never be conditioned to political, development, human rights or other non-humanitarian objectives. The conditioning of humanitarian aid is antithetical to the core principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, serves to erode respect for International Humanitarian Law and compromises humanitarian actors. Donors are urged to ensure transactions and other activities required for humanitarian operations are excluded from the scope of sanctions regimes to allow humanitarian activities to continue without impediment.
Since 1 September 2021, partners have reached 10,607 children with community-based education activities, supported 32,144 people with standard NFIs assistance, provided over 3.1 million people with food assistance, reached 450,000 people with primary healthcare, provided treatment for Acute Malnutrition to 20,755 children under five, supported 11,873 people with psychosocial support services, and assisted 186,204 drought-affected people with water trucking.
The majority of activities during the reporting period have been carried out with existing funding. Humanitarians continue to urge for pledged funding to be rapidly translated into commitments to resource immediate response and preparedness activities.
Forty years of war, recurrent natural disasters, chronic poverty, drought and the COVID-19 pandemic have devastated the people of Afghanistan. The recent escalation in conflict and resulting upheaval has only exacerbated needs and further complicated an extremely challenging operational context.
Even prior to the events of 15 August, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was one of the worst in the world. By the mid-year mark, nearly half of the population – some 18.4 million people – were already in need of humanitarian and protection assistance in 2021. One in three Afghans were facing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity and more than half of all children under-five were expected to face acute malnutrition. Protection and safety risks to civilians, particularly women, children and people with a disability, were also reaching record highs. Four decades of war have left Afghanistan with one of the world’s highest per capita populations of people with disabilities – including both physical and psychosocial disabilities – with 79 per cent of adults and 17 per cent of children believed to live with some form of disability according to analysis by the Asia Foundation. Mobilising resources to ensure that people with disabilities, including survivors of incidents involving explosive remnants of war, have access to resources and services they need to live in dignity and to be able to enjoy meaningful participation within their communities/society has never been more critical.
The sharp increase in hostilities across the country also severely impacted health facilities and health personnel, and further stretched thin resources responding to the increased health needs – including needs fuelled by new COVID-19 variants.
Direct and indirect attacks against schools coupled with COVID-19 preventative measures disrupted critical education windows – key for children’s development and trauma coping – for a staggering 9.3 million children. As of 15 September, conflict has already forced more than 634,000 people to flee their homes so far this year. Despite rising insecurity, a record 890,000 undocumented Afghans were deported or had returned from neighbouring countries since January.
Afghanistan is also facing its second drought in four years. Unlike the last drought that was relatively localised in the western region, the current drought is impacting one third of the country. This will deplete many people’s financial and asset reserves as they struggle to cope. Already, poor households have taken on catastrophic levels of debt. Many continue to rely on dangerous coping mechanisms to survive, including child labour, early and forced marriage, and risky irregular migration, and are taking on heightened protection risks as a result.
The recent leadership transitions in the country and unfolding implications on basic services, financial systems and markets has led to a further deterioration of the situation for vulnerable people. While the full impact of recent events will take more time to manifest, aid organisations have already witnessed a dangerous deepening of humanitarian need amongst a greater number of people. While all population groups across the country have been impacted, the consequences for women and girls have been most immediately felt.
To respond to deepening humanitarian need and acute protection risks, the Inter Cluster Coordination Team (ICCT) has developed a multi-sector plan which details a four-month (September-December 2021) strategic response to the current crisis. The plan draws largely on unmet needs detailed in the 2021 HRP (Humanitarian Response Plan) while also incorporating new emerging needs, as they are currently understood.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.