Section I: Cluster needs analysis
1. Summary of needs to be addressed by the cluster
Afghanistan remains one of the poorest and least developed country. Severe impact of the climate change, cross border movement, conflict, poverty caused by lack of proper structures and lack of basic services continued to affect poor people across the country. Despite the past decade of international assistance, severe poverty, inequality and instability remain entrenched. Approximately, 54% of Afghans lives below poverty line and struggle to meet their basic requirements resulting in chronic malnutrition, high level of food insecurity, and one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates globally. This chronic situation of people exacerbates the humanitarian crisis which has become more intense and more geographically extensive.
Food insecurity in Afghanistan is on the rise because of various humanitarian and structural under-development causes. The recent Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA 2018) verified the results of Afghanistan Living Condition Survey (ALCS) where food insecurity and poverty were rated extremely high. Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) 2018 classified 13.5 million of the rural population (38%) in crisis and emergency (IPC phase 3 and 4) phases in projected period between November 2018 to February 2019. Only people classified in IPC phase 4 reaches to 3.6 million. The estimate corresponds to 13% increase (from 27% to 40%) in number of people falling under IPC phase 3 and 4 in comparison to 2017. Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC) estimated 4.9 million people in immediate need of food and livelihoods assistance in 2019.
2017/2018 drought has been one of the main drivers of food insecurity in the country. According to emergency food security assessment (EFSA) 2018, out of the total 17 million rural population residing in 22 drought affected provinces, around 10.5 million people (3.9 million highly and 6.6 million moderately) were affected by drought. 66% of severely food insecure people are living in 22 highly drought affected provinces. West region is the worst drought affected region where almost 300,000 people already left their homes after depleting their assets. Drought Impact Need Assessment (DINA) result shows that food consumption score of 82 per cent of drought displaced people was poor, 13 per cent borderline, and only 5 per cent was acceptable. In Afghanistan, the winter wet season is critical for successful agriculture and food production throughout the year. Drought significantly impacted the crop production, fodder, local pastures and income of the agriculture labor. Agriculture prospect report of the MAIL shows 6 percent reduction in irrigated and 71 percent reduction in rainfed land production for 2018. For 2019 above, average precipitation and above average temperature is forecasted by the science partners which will reduce the pressure of drought in some areas but there is very high probability of floods affecting almost same vulnerable communities.
Conflict remained the second largest driver of humanitarian needs during 2018. Despite increase in conflict, there were less number of conflict affected IDPs across the country during 2018 as compared to 2017. As per various assessments conducted in different areas, food insecurity remains very high among conflict affected IDP’s. Food security and agriculture cluster projected 350,000 conflict affected IDP’s in need of food assistance out of a caseload of 500,000 as per the last 5 years trends data.
Cross border movement remained the third largest driver of humanitarian needs during 2018, and a different trend of Afghan’s returnees was observed from Iran. Nearly 700,000 economic migrants came back to Afghanistan as Iran is facing a high level of depreciation in currency and severe drought resulting in low job opportunities and less income for Afghan migrants. Around 114,000 among the total returnees from Iran in 2019 may need food and livelihood assistance.
According to the findings of EFSA 2018, households experienced different shocks which resulted in reduced income (11 percent), loss of employment (27 percent) and conflict displacement (9.4 percent). IPC 2018 classified Badghis, Kandahar, Nuristan, Daikundy and Badakhshan in IPC level 4 (emergency) under its current and project periods.