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6.3m Afghans need humanitarian, protection aid

6.3m Afghans need humanitarian, protection aid

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Dec 08, 2018 - 18:36

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A chaotic and unpredictable security situation, combined with a severe drought, newly displaced more than 550,000 civilians and pushed 3.3 million into emergency levels of food insecurity in Afghanistaninfo-icon,  an almost doubling in the number of people in need compared to this time last year.

Today, 6.3 million people in Afghanistan require some form of humanitarian and protection assistance including 3.7 million in severe and major need due to a convergence of factors arising from exposure to escalating violence, forced displacement, the loss of essential livelihoods and limited access to basic services, read Afghanistan 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Humanitarian Drivers

Ongoing hostilities across large parts of the country, including ground engagements, aerial operations, and an indiscriminate use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are causing extreme levels of physical and psychological harm.

Already this year, 98 suicide attacks have taken place, while quarterly trends indicate that 2018 is on track to be the fifth consecutive year in which civilian casualties exceed 10,000.

Additional systematic violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) continue to be reported, mainly by non-state armed groups (NSAGs), ranging from attacks on healthinfo-icon and educationinfo-icon facilities to targeted killings, and the forced recruitment of children.

In 2019, it is estimated that as many as 250,000 Afghans will require emergency medical treatment as a result of continued conflict, while nearly 1.8 million people live within one kilometre of areas known to be polluted with explosive hazards that are in need of immediate mine clearance.

Population Movement & Forced Displacement

Political instability, natural disasters, food insecurity and poverty continue to conspire to generate significant numbers of people on the move.

So far in 2018, some 550,000 Afghans have been forced to leave their homes either due to conflict or the loss of livelihoods associated with drought.

While returns from Pakistaninfo-icon are at an all-time low, with only 43,000 recorded so far in 2018, an unprecedented 673,000 Afghans have come back from Iran, many of them under duress.

Populations forcibly displaced, internally or cross-border, are exposed to a host of protection risks both pre- and post-flight, including insecure tenure, and secondary and multiple displacement.

With conflict, further economic decline in Iran and an uncertain political and protection climate in Pakistan all foreseen in 2019, it is estimated that one million displaced people will require lifesaving humanitarian assistance across multiple sectors.

Slow & Sudden-Onset Natural Disasters

In 2018 drought has affected more than two-thirds of Afghanistan, devastating the agricultural sector and leaving some four million people across the worst-affected provinces in need of life-saving assistance, including 3.9 million people in need of food and livelihoods support.

The drought has unleashed a host of problems on already impoverished communities, reducing incomes by half, debilitating people’s health and causing households to engage in negative coping mechanisms – all of which have had an adverse impact on their physical and psychological well-being.

As of November 2018, some 3.3 million people are experiencing Emergency levels of food insecurity (Integrated Phase Classification - IPC 47), a 74 percent increase on this time last year, and require responses which help them to protect their assets and livelihoods from further depletion, as well as support their re-establishment.

An additional 150,000 people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance due to other sudden-onset disasters, including avalanches, landslides and flash floods.

In 2019, floods may be more ruinous in their consequences due to the current drought conditions and the predicted El Niño weather pattern which is projected to bring higher than normal precipitation next year.

Access to Basic Services

Already in 2018, around 4,000 hours of healthcare delivery have been lost and 335,000 consultations missed due to the forced closure and destruction of health facilities, as attacks against health workers and medical assets mount in both frequency and deadliness.

Across the country, other development indicators remain stubbornly low and, in some cases, are declining: in two thirds of Afghanistan’s provinces, the prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) is above emergency thresholds; one in three Afghan children are unimmunized.

The conflict continues to hamper maternal and child health, particularly in rural areas where some 75 per cent of womeninfo-icon live.

With continued insecurity expected in 2019, it is estimated that some 2.64 million people will require humanitarian assistance due to limited access to services, including 1.9 million malnourished children and nursing mothers.

In addition, the use of some 4,500 schools, as well as other civilian infrastructure, as voter registration and polling centres in the presidential elections slated for April 2019, may also make these facilities targets for attack, subjecting them to actual violence or damage, or leading parents to keep children away from school and requiring preventative and protective measures to be put in place.

pr/ma

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