UNICEF Afghanistan Humanitarian Situation Report - 21-31 August 2021



  • With 9.7 million Afghan children already in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, the ongoing displacement, current political volatility and expected disruption of basic social services, compounded by drought and continued COVID-19 pandemic, and the onset of winter will further exacerbate their humanitarian needs.

  • To ensure access to humanitarian aid to the affected population in an operationally challenging context, UNICEF has already mobilized its resources and capacities to continue scaling-up protection, health, WASH, nutrition, education and cash interventions.

  • During the reporting period, safe drinking water was provided to more than 170,000 drought-affected people in multiple provinces, UNICEF-supported mobile teams delivered health services in 14 provinces, 8,870 children affected by conflict and displacement were reached with child protection services, 4,000 severely malnourished children were provided with life-saving therapeutic treatment, and 479 community-based education classes (CBEs) were established reaching 22,470 out-of-school children.

Situation in Numbers

9,700,000 children in need of humanitarian assistance

18,400,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance

570,482 People displaced by conflict

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Following a two-decade war, the Taliban took over Kabul on 15th August merely two weeks before the complete withdrawal of international military forces. This rapid change of power further deepened an already dire humanitarian situation and has brought the country to the brink of an economic collapse. The national and internal banking system has largely frozen all transactions – including international - and most of the private sector companies have suspended services. This situation is impacting the population across with challenges to receive salaries and access cash for procuring basic food staples and other key goods for households.

Since the end of May, the number of people internally displaced because of conflict more than doubled, reaching over 570,000 by end August.

The funding suspension of the Sehatmandi project which is the backbone of the health system in Afghanistan has critical negative implications for the delivery of the health services in Afghanistan. More than 2,300 health facilities are affected by this decision, with reports indicating growing gaps in the delivery of life-saving interventions including routine immunization services, limited medicine and supplies, and lack of salaries for health personnel. Over 80 per cent of life-saving nutrition services for children and women are provided through these health facilities. Nutrition counsellors, whose work will also be stalled, provide critical support and counselling for breastfeeding mothers and one-on-one advice on feeding young children. Provision of iron, folic acid and vitamin and mineral tablets and powders, critical in these times of rapidly diminishing access to food, will also be jeopardized. Likewise, critical nutrition information on treatments will no longer be available, limiting the ability to obtain updates on the nutrition situation in the country. With one million children under five projected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year, such suspensions in service provision will have a devastating impact on the nutritional situation of children.

Hunger is likely to increase in the coming months as wheat and other food prices are climbing daily notwithstanding the compounded impacts of the meagre harvest season ends and the harsh Afghan winter that will begin in two months from now.

An inter-agency flash appeal will be launched on 13 September during a High-level Ministerial Meeting convened by the UN Secretary General. The Flash Appeal reflects the overall funding requirements needed to address the immediate humanitarian gaps from September to December 2021 in light of the deteriorating situation.