Afghanistan: La Niña Drought - Revised Emergency Appeal n° MDRAF007, Revision n° 2


This revised Emergency Appeal seeks 36 million Swiss francs, increased from 15 million Swiss francs, to scale up the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) humanitarian response for addressing needs wrought by multiple humanitarian crises in Afghanistan. The country is experiencing compounding effects of drought, conflict, displacement and gaps in health services, as well as anticipating a harsh winter. 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 560,000 people over 24 months. In addition to increasing the number of people to be assisted, this revised Emergency Appeal extends the operation timeframe and expands the geographic scope. With this revision, there is a funding gap of CHF 35,150,000 Swiss francs.


  • January 2021: A report by the Afghanistan National Statistics and Information Authority and Ministry of Agriculture,
    Irrigation, and Livestock indicates that 16 provinces are experiencing severe impacts of La Niña events and below average precipitation that causes drought.

  • 20 March 2021: IFRC allocates 500,000 Swiss francs from Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to enable the ARCS to initiate a response operation.

  • 10 April 2021: IFRC issues an Emergency Appeal seeking 7.5 million Swiss francs to support the ARCS to deliver relief and early recovery assistance and support to 210,000 people in 10 provinces for 12 months.

  • 14 April 2021: Deadline for withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan extends from 1 May 2021 to 11 September 2021.

  • 4 May 2021: Armed opposition group (AOG) launches offensive operation in Helmand. The number of displaced people begins to increase, and many seek refuge in larger cities across the country.

  • 22 June 2021: The President of Afghanistan officially declares a state of emergency due to drought.

  • 3 August 2021: IFRC issues a Revised Emergency Appeal No. 1 with the targeted population increased to 280,000 individuals and the funding requirement to 15 million Swiss francs: to enable ARCS to deliver assistance and support to drought affected households over15 months.

  • 6 -14 August 2021: The AOG rapidly gains control of provincial capitals across the country. Number of displaced people increases rapidly, with thousands heading to Kabul.

  • 15 August 2021: Presumptive authorities begin transition measures. Situation on the ground continues to evolve with a certain level of unpredictability.

  • 6 September 2021: IFRC issues Revised Emergency Appeal No. 2, increasing the funding requirement from 15 million Swiss francs to 36 million Swiss francs: to enable the ARCS to deliver assistance and support to 560,000 people over 24 months. A second DREF allocation of additional CHF 500,000 has been approved which brings the total DREF allocation for this operation to CHF 1 million.

Situation overview

Afghanistan is reeling from a complex humanitarian crisis resulting from compounding impacts of conflict, drought, food insecurity and displacement as well as gaps in health services. A recent escalation in the conflict has created additional stress and unpredictability to the country and population, rapidly increasing the number of displaced people. The escalation of conflict occurred in the backdrop of a drought that has affected more than 80 per cent of the country. In a drought declaration by the government on 22 June 2021, the country’s wheat crop will be reduced by nearly two million tons. Additionally, more than three million livestock are in danger of perishing due to a lack of fodder and water. The winter season will start in October with a potential for severe impact on drought-affected and displaced people whose coping capacities are already weakened. The compounding impacts of drought and conflict which escalated in July and the first half of August have exacerbated the hard living conditions in a country that is also grappling with COVID-19 and poverty. Amid several surges in COVID19 cases, the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic will continue to be felt, with the continued risk of new waves.

Affected people are reliant on aid, including food assistance, lifesaving health care, and means to restore and protect their livelihoods. As of early August, around 11 million people are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity due to the combination of conflict, COVID-19, high food prices, and rampant unemployment1 . These numbers are likely to increase due to developments of recent weeks though data is yet to be confirmed as the situation is evolving.