WASH Severity Classification (WSC): Overview - WSC Light Afghanistan, December 2021



The situation in Afghanistan is highly concerning. Based on available data, some of it collected before the August 2021 transition of power and related disruptions, all provinces of the country are in need of humanitarian assistance (severity phase 3 or above). Out of the 30 classified provinces, 13 are in a crisis situation (severity phase 3) and 17 are in a critical situation (severity phase 4), mostly due to severe public health issues, notably a high prevalence of global acute malnutrition and widespread diarrheal diseases. At regional level, the situation appears to be worse along a North-East South-West and North-West South-East axis. No province is in a catastrophic situation (phase 5) at this stage.


The WSC is a new interagency global initiative led by the Global WASH Cluster, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and REACH Initiative. Developed at the global level through a participatory process, the WSC project aims to build a standardized approach to classifying the severity of WASH needs and vulnerabilities across contexts.

The findings presented in this report are the product of a WSC Light exercise conducted in December 2021. Unlike standard WSC implementations, the Light approach does not have a joint analysis workshop. Instead, with the support of key WASH partners in-country, a global team of WSC analysts identified, reviewed, and processed data sources pertaining to different areas of the WSC Analytical Framework. The analysis considered relevant data collected from various sources six months prior to the exercise. Data was collated from a range of sources, including government databases, UN agency and NGO assessments. The full list of data sources used is provided at the end of the document (Annex 3).

In accordance with the WSC Analysis Protocols, analysts iteratively analysed this information, producing severity classification for the 30 analysed provinces and identifying the key factors driving the situation. The findings were then reviewed and validated by WASH experts in country.