Afghanistan has seen a new escalation of violence and non-government armed groups (NGAGs) such as the Taliban and Islamic State Khorasan (ISK) control more territory now than they have since 2001.? Active conflict is disrupting civilian life, limiting access to basic services and raising protection concerns for 17m Afghans in 106 districts.? The volatile, unpredictable security situation and a severe drought in 22 of 34 provinces has led to the displacement of 585,000 people in 2018 with urgent shelter, food, protection and WASH needs.? The drought has exacerbated food insecurity, decreased livelihood opportunities and increased WASH and health needs, particularly in rural areas.? An increasing number of returnee-IDPs from Iran put additional pressure on host community resources and international assistance.? Afghanistan is also prone to sudden-onset disasters including avalanches, landslides and flash floods. Anticipated above-average precipitation due to El Niño could lead to devastating outcomes due to current drought conditions.?
INFORM measures Afghanistan’s risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be very high, at 7.8/10, putting it at rank 4 on the global crisis level. Afghanistan rates 8.8/10 for hazard and exposure and 7.5/10 for a lack of coping capacity.?
Insecurity and the presence of NSAG hamper the delivery of humanitarian assistance across the country. At least 46 districts are classified as hard-to-reach areas, where needs for multi-cluster interventions are estimated to be high but only limited data is available.? Access to areas controlled or contested by NSAG is especially constricted, as NSAG demand illegal taxation and humanitarian workers report pressure from government officials not to respond to these areas.? Decades of conflict have left major supply roads in very poor condition and are often targeted by NSAGs. Land mine contamination and targeting of humanitarian aid workers further add to access constraints.?
21/02: Since the beginning of the year more than 45,000 Afghans have returned from Iran to Herat and Nimroz provinces.? Crisis food insecurity levels, drought and conflict are complicating the reintegration of returnees. Return rates from Iran saw a 65% increase in 2018 and are expected to remain relatively high throughout 2019, with 114,000 returnees anticipated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. Limited funding has meant that only 4% of returnees received assistance upon arrival compared to 20% deemed to be in need.?
14/02: The country has been experiencing extreme weather conditions in recent days, with heavy snow and rainfall in western, north-eastern and eastern provinces.? Several highways have been closed since 12 February, inclduing the Salang Pass and Herat-Kandahar Highway due to floods, heavy snowfall and avalanches, thus posing considerable access constraints. Casualties were reported from Herat, Farah and Badakhshan provinces, as well as several injuries and damages to houses and makeshift camps.?
February: Above-normal snow- and rainfall anticipated for late February attributable to likely weak El Niño event could support recovery from a severe drought in 2018. Risk of crop damage due to floods, landslides and pests because of higher humidity could intensify food insecurity.?
February to May: Large parts of Daykundi and Badghis as well as several districts of Badakshan are expected to face IPC 4 level outcomes between February and May.?
July: Presidential elections are scheduled for 20 July 2019.?
Food: Food insecurity affects 45% of the total population across all provinces: close to 11 million people face IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and 4 (Emergency) levels
Protection: The indiscriminate use of IEDs, ground engagements and aerial operations are largely responsible for an average of 10,000 civilian casualties per year (2014-2018). Pre-existing gender and social inequalities have been exacerbated by the crisis.
WASH: Close to 60% of Afghanistan’s population does not have access to improved sanitation and 36% rely on unimproved water sources; the drought has increased the use of unsafe water sources.
Information Gaps and needs
Access is often restricted due to ongoing hostilities, mine contamination, NSAG presence and remoteness, which subsequently decreases the accuracy of assessments of humanitarian needs.
Considering high population mobility and access restrictions, it is often difficult to track movements of internally displaced and returning populations.
- Months of higher temperatures, usually from April to October/November, represent the Afghan fighting season, because milder temperatures make roads and other infrastructure, as well as mountain passes, more accessible.?
- Heavy rains, usually falling from January - April, often cause flash floods and landslides in remote, northern areas of Afghanistan.?