We looked into nine indicators to rank and compare the humanitarian access levels worldwide. Affected populations in more than 50 countries are not getting proper humanitarian assistance due to access constraints. Humanitarian access has deteriorated in Colombia, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Somalia over the past six months. 13 new countries entered the ranking since the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access report released in August 2018. Physical constraints and restriction/obstruction of access to services and assistance are the most common challenges.
Anticipatory report - On 3 January 2018, Pakistan granted Afghan refugees in Pakistan a residence extension until the end of January. This is the shortest extension ever given to Afghan refugees in Pakistan and raises concerns of imminent large-scale forced returns. Some 1.39 million Afghan refugees are registered in Pakistan, as well as an estimated one million unregistered Afghans. If returns are enforced, it is likely to have a major impact on shelter, protection, and food needs. However, previous deadlines have been threatened but not enforced, reducing the probability of the risk.
Many rural areas of Sindh are currently experiencing daily highs above 40°C, which are forecast to continue until early May. Average annual temperatures are in the mid-thirties at this time and increase to reach their peak in May and June, when urban areas including Karachi will be severely affected by the heatwave. Heatwaves in the past have caused considerable health impacts including dehydration, sunburn, and heatstroke. Impacts on WASH lead to additional health risks such as waterborne diseases. Increased power needs might lead to blackouts, affecting hospitals, transport, and communication.
In southeastern Sindh, below-average rainfall during the 2016 monsoon (July to October) resulted in no or substantially less crop production for the third consecutive year and in livestock losses, affecting the two main livelihood sources in the region.
According to ECHO, 27% of the population in Sindh is moderately to acutely food insecure. A lack of access to WASH facilities and medical services exacerbates food security and nutrition conditions. Landless agricultural labourers, pastoralists, and sharecroppers are most vulnerable and the worst hit. Comparable and recent data on food insecurity rates is missing, but according to the latest assessment conducted in 2015, GAM and SAM rates were well above emergency levels.
Since September 2016, response has been limited. According to a report by the UN Country Team in Pakistan published in February 2017, the 2015 findings are still valid and the region is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.
UPDATE: Results from an IPC Acute Food Insecurity analysis conducted since May and published in August shows that three of the most affected districts (Tharparkar, Jamshoro, and Sanghar) are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity, while one (Umerkot) is facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3), confirming the analysis of this note published in April and updated in May.?
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Although the flow of returnees to Afghanistan has slowed since its peak in mid-2016, more than 60,000 people have returned from Iran (54,000) and Pakistan (almost 10,000) this year. They are in need of livelihoods and shelter as well as protection assistance.
Returnees from Pakistan go through Torkham border in Nangarhar province and Spin Boldak border in Kandarhar. Undocumented returnees make up around 40% of a total of 620,000 Afghans who returned from Pakistan in 2016. Returnees from Iran go through Islam Qala border in Herat province and Milak border in Nimroz province. More than 248,000 people returned from Pakistan in 2016, and more than 443,000 from Iran.
The increase is a result of worsening relations between the Afghanistan and Pakistan governments, prompting increasing pressure to return. The increase in returns from Iran is primarily due to the perceived pressure by the Iranian government that Afghan undocumented migrants put on the Iranian economy.