This revised Emergency Appeal seeks a total of 15 million Swiss francs, an increase from 7.5 million Swiss francs, to scale up the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) humanitarian response following the drought emergency announcement by the President of Afghanistan and complex humanitarian crisis which resulted from the compounding impact of the drought, conflict, COVID-19 and other pre-existing development issues. This Emergency Appeal will enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the ARCS to deliver assistance and support to 280,000 people over 15 months. The extended timeframe will enable ARCS to efficiently implement the planned relief and recovery activities.
Afghanistan is facing a drought which was officially declared by the President of the country on 22 June 2021. This is the second drought to impact Afghanistan in four years. During the second half of 2020, a moderate to strong La Niña phenomenon was registered and resulted in below-average rainfall and snowfall across Afghanistan. The dry conditions affected the snow accumulation that is critical for water supply during the spring and summer agricultural seasons. According to the government, in 2021, the country’s wheat crop will be reduced by nearly two million tons due to this. More than three million livestock are also in danger of death due to lack of fodder and water.
The drought has also exacerbated the hard living conditions in a country that is grappling with escalating conflict, COVID-19 and crippling poverty. COVID-19 cases have steadily risen since mid-May 2021, with compounding socioeconomic impacts. Moreover, the years of conflict and instability have caused livelihood disruption and displacements. Despite efforts for a peace deal, this has not yet translated into a sustained reduction in violence.
In the first half of 2021, an estimated 140,691 people have been displaced due to armed clashes. Still, internally displaced people (IDPs) from previous years are unable to return to their places of origin mainly because of continued conflict, loss of livelihoods, and a lack of economic opportunities. The ongoing complex humanitarian emergencies – with the drought being the worst – in the country have not only increased the vulnerability but have severely impacted the living conditions and livelihoods in many parts of the country. The impacted populations are in need of emergency food assistance, lifesaving health care, and means to restore and protect their livelihoods. Currently, around 11 million people are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity due to conflict, COVID-19, high food prices, and rampant unemployment. .