0 . MAJOR CHANGES SINCE PREVIOUS VERSION OF THE HIP
This HIP's allocation of 4 MEUR from the food aid budget line could not be programmed and committed in the first half of 2012. It was decided to enable a transfer of 4 MEUR from the Food Aid Budget Line to the Humanitarian Aid Budget Line under the present HIP. The two reasons behind this change are the following:
• In response to the devastation of the serious flooding in 2012, humanitarian assistance is required to help meet the urgent needs of the affected communities. Partners have submitted "integrated proposals" combining food components together with WASH, and/or health and/or NFIs/shelter distribution in response to the on-going floods. Even though very relevant to respond to the floods, this multi-sector assistance is not eligible under the food aid budget line. Therefore, an adaptation to the world-wide financing Decision was necessary.
• Furthermore, UNHCR have recently informed DG ECHO that they have identified new areas where IDPs could be assisted, notably in difficult areas such as Kandahar, where access has been recently regained. Responding to these needs is seen as a priority. This can only be done with the Humanitarian Aid Budget Line under the present HIP, and not the Food Aid Budget Line.
1 . CONTEXT In 2011, the internal armed conflict opposing national and international forces to Armed Opposition Groups has further escalated. The epicentre of the fighting, which used to be in the south and east of the country, has now also spread to most Afghan provinces, particularly to the North. This is the thirty-fourth year of conflict in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a natural disaster prone country with weak means and mechanisms in place to mitigate risks and respond to emergencies. It is affected on a regular basis by floods, epidemics, earthquakes, landslides, periods of extreme temperature and storm as well as drought. There is an average of over eight significant natural disasters per year. The 2011 drought is likely to have repercussions on food security levels of 2.8 million people if it is not addressed in one way or another.
There is widespread and significant displacement caused by conflict and natural disasters amongst the Afghan population. 5.7 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan since 2002, leaving 2.7 million Afghans predominantly in neighbouring Pakistan and Iran. Internally Displaced People (IDPs) figures are on the rise. However, it should not be neglected that these displacements can also be linked to poor economic conditions.