Nearly 11 million people in Afghanistan are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) due to conflict, COVID-19, high food prices and rampant unemployment, between March and May 2021 (the lean season in most parts of the country.) This includes around 7.8 million people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 3.2 million people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and require urgent action to save lives, reduce food gaps and save and protect livelihoods. Across the urban areas, around 2.73 million people face high levels of acute food insecurity, of which 717,000 people are in Emergency.
Between June and November 2021 (harvest and post-harvest seasons), a slight improvement in food security is expected, with the number of people in IPC Phase 3 or above decreasing to 9.5 million, with 6.7 million in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 2.7 million in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency). The areas that were in Phase 4 in the current analysis period are expected to remain in Phase 4 in the projection period, despite slight seasonal improvements. It is likely that household’s food access will improve slightly with the onset of the harvest, better job opportunities, as well as seasonal decreases in prices; however, rainfall forecasts suggest that the harvest will be below average, which will likely affect food availability during the following lean season. The food security situation has relatively improved compared to the last three years, and compared to the projection from the previous analysis. The improvement is owing to lower impacts of COVID-19 than initially forecast and scaling up of humanitarian food assistance in response to the COVID-19 crisis. A significant scale-up of humanitarian assistance since the last quarter of 2020 has greatly contributed to mitigate acute food insecurity in the current period, especially in provinces that were projected to be in Phase 4 in the previous analysis for the current period. However, the food security situation is still concerning and expected to deteriorate further during the 2021-2022 lean season.