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Country analysis

Afghanistan


The drivers of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan include economic crisis, drought and other climate hazards, insecurity, and protection threats, which particularly affect women and girls.

In 2024, 23.7 million people will require humanitarian assistance, because of the persisting effects of past years of armed conflict and displacement, economic shocks, and structural issues (including poverty and poor infrastructure). Food remains a priority need, followed by livelihood opportunities. Afghanistan faces a widespread climate change-induced water crisis. Several Taliban decrees, directives and its overall control over citizens' lives affect humanitarian response in the country.

Despite slight stabilization since January 2023 with lower commodity prices and improved harvests, Afghanistan's economy remains one of the main drivers of needs. Women-headed households, households with members experiencing disabilities, rural households, and recent returnees are the most vulnerable. These groups resort to coping strategies to meet their needs; and face challenges in maintaining adequate food consumption, have higher debts and lower income. In Afghanistan, 6.3 million people are internally displaced, and 1.9 million returned from Iran and Pakistan.

In October 2023, four magnitude 6.3 earthquakes, along with multiple aftershocks, hit Herat province, affecting 1.6 million people. 114,000 of this number remain in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

(OCHA 23/12/2023, OCHA 16/10/2023, IPC 14/12/2023, UNDP 18/01/2024, UNICEF 11/12/2023)

The drivers of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan include economic crisis, drought and other climate hazards, insecurity, and protection threats, which particularly affect women and girls.

In 2024, 23.7 million people will require humanitarian assistance, because of the persisting effects of past years of armed conflict and displacement, economic shocks, and structural issues (including poverty and poor infrastructure). Food remains a priority need, followed by livelihood opportunities. Afghanistan faces a widespread climate change-induced water crisis. Several Taliban decrees, directives and its overall control over citizens' lives affect humanitarian response in the country.

Despite slight stabilization since January 2023 with lower commodity prices and improved harvests, Afghanistan's economy remains one of the main drivers of needs. Women-headed households, households with members experiencing disabilities, rural households, and recent returnees are the most vulnerable. These groups resort to coping strategies to meet their needs; and face challenges in maintaining adequate food consumption, have higher debts and lower income. In Afghanistan, 6.3 million people are internally displaced, and 1.9 million returned from Iran and Pakistan.

In October 2023, four magnitude 6.3 earthquakes, along with multiple aftershocks, hit Herat province, affecting 1.6 million people. 114,000 of this number remain in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

(OCHA 23/12/2023, OCHA 16/10/2023, IPC 14/12/2023, UNDP 18/01/2024, UNICEF 11/12/2023)

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Latest updates on country situation

29 May 2024

An estimated 6.5 million children will likely face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity in 2024 given the impact of floods, droughts, and the mass return of Afghans from Pakistan and Iran. Heavy rains are likely to intensify in the coming months, leading to more floods and further affecting food insecurity. (STC 27/05/2024, WFP 21/05/2024)

13 May 2024

From 10–11 May 2024, heavy rainfall and flash floods hit northeastern Afghanistan, affecting 21 districts across Badakhshan, Baghlan, and Takhar provinces, with Baghlan facing the most impacts. The disaster has displaced an unknown number of people, who need emergency shelter, food and NFIs, medical supplies, safe drinking water, and hygiene kits. By 14 May, at least 330 people had died from the impact, the majority of whom were in Baghlan province. By 12 May, the floods had destroyed or damaged nearly 9,000 homes. Civilian infrastructure, such as key health facilities and water supply systems, has sustained significant damage. Flooding has also affected agricultural land and livestock. Some access restrictions from road damage are likely to hinder aid delivery. (OCHA 12/05/2024, ECHO 14/05/2024, FloodList 13/05/2024)

18 April 2024

In 2024, food, education, and shelter are among the key needs of the about 250,000 children in Afghanistan who have recently returned from Pakistan. Since September 2023, over 520,000 Afghans have returned from Pakistan after the latter announced that all foreigners in the country without valid documents would be forced to leave by 1 November or face arrest and deportation. (STC 18/04/2024, ACAPS 07/12/2023)

28 February 2024

Since November 2023, Afghanistan has been experiencing an increase in suspected measles cases, driven by high community transmission worsened by winter conditions and inadequate immunisation coverage. Since January 2024, approximately 6,000 cases have been reported, resulting in 24 deaths. The majority of those affected are children under five. (WHO 22/02/2024)

15 January 2024

In 2024, 23.7 million people, over half of the population, are likely to require humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. The onset of winter and the pre-existing vulnerability of the people affected by the 2023 earthquakes in Herat province aggravate the humanitarian crisis. The earthquakes affected 275,000 people, including 96,000 children, and damaged or destroyed over 30,000 shelters. The crisis led thousands of families to live in makeshift camps without adequate WASH and heating access, exposing them to a higher risk of diseases. Since September 2023, acute respiratory infections (ARI) have been rising with the onset of winter. Since January 2023, over 2,800 ARI-related deaths have been reported, 62% of which involve under-five children. 17.9 million people are in need of health assistance across the country, including 842,000 in Herat. At least 150 people have died from the colder-than-usual weather conditions in 2023. (OCHA 23/12/2023, WHO 10/01/2024, CARE 10/01/2024)

14 December 2023

Around 15.8 million people are projected to experience high food insecurity levels – i.e. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse – between November 2023 and March 2024, a 21% increase compared to October 2023. The main drivers are high food prices, reduced income, and unemployment, compounded by the onset of winter and the influx of Afghan refugees. Over 500,000 Afghans had arrived from Pakistan and Iran as at 15 December, facing limited food, WASH, and health access. Food insecurity already contributes to high malnutrition levels, with four million children and women projected to experience acute malnutrition between November 2022 and April 2023, leading to increased morbidity and mortality rates. The persistent struggle to secure sufficient food compels people to adopt coping strategies with potentially harmful consequences, aggravating conditions for impoverished Afghans as they become exposed to the associated risks linked to inadequate diet, nutrition deficiencies, and compromised immunity. (IPC 14/12/2023, CARE et al. 14/12/2023, STC 14/12/2023)

06 November 2023

Pakistan's Illegal Foreigners Repatriation Plan has left Afghan refugees in a precarious situation. Since the Government's directive for all undocumented migrants to depart Pakistan by 1 November 2023, over 160,000 Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan, most because of fear of arrest. These individuals are residing at the border, lacking access to essentials, including food, shelter, and WASH. Their borders are also being confiscated at the Pakistani border, leaving them with limited possessions. Despite the Pakistani authorities' assurance that only undocumented refugees will be repatriated, the number of arrests of proof of registration cardholders increased significantly by 11 times in October 2023 compared to October 2022. The influx is expected to rise in the upcoming days, aggravating the already challenging situation in Afghanistan, particularly with the approaching winter. The country is grappling with various difficulties, such as drought, economic hardships, longstanding conflict, and the current Taliban-led government's international isolation. (IOM et al. 03/11/2023, UNHCR/IOM 01/11/2023, AP 06/11/2023)

current crises
in Afghanistan


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

AFG006 - Earthquake in Herat Province

Last updated 30/05/2024


Drivers

Earthquake

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.8 Medium

Access constraints

3.0

AFG001 - Complex crisis

Last updated 30/05/2024


Drivers

Conflict
Violence
Displacement
Drought
Earthquake
Socio-political

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

4.4 Very High

Access constraints

4.0

Analysis products
on Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Risk updates since January 2024

12 June 2024

Afghanistan: Risk updates since January 2024

DOCUMENT / PDF / 196 KB

This is an update of the Afghanistan: Key risk areas to watch: January – June 2024 and beyond. It considers how each risk area has developed since January and assesses whether the identified risks have materialised or whether their probability levels have increased, decreased, or remained the same.

Anticipatory analysis
Afghanistan: understanding resilience strategies and tools

03 June 2024

Afghanistan: understanding resilience strategies and tools

DOCUMENT / PDF / 5 MB

This report aims to improve knowledge of and enable programming that strengthens resilience in Afghanistan through an exploration of shocks, resilience strategies, and related barriers.

Conflict and violence
Afghanistan: impact of flooding

21 May 2024

Afghanistan: impact of flooding

DOCUMENT / PDF / 1 MB

Above-average precipitation and extreme rainfall events, mainly attributable to the combined effects of El Niño and climate change, have been triggering floods, flash floods, and mudslides in 25 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces since the end of February 2024.

Natural hazards
Afghanistan: spotlight on social impact - October 2023 to February 2024

25 April 2024

Afghanistan: spotlight on social impact - October 2023 to February 2024

DOCUMENT / PDF / 365 KB

This report is released every four months and aims to shed light on emerging issues that have or are likely to have significant social impact on Afghans as well as consequences for the humanitarian response. When possible, the report considers groups with specific vulnerabilities and key themes.

Displacement
Afghanistan: anticipated impact of delayed and extreme winter precipitation

15 March 2024

Afghanistan: anticipated impact of delayed and extreme winter precipitation

DOCUMENT / PDF / 364 KB

Since 26 February 2024, heavy snow and rainfall have affected most of Afghanistan’s provinces, resulting in casualties, widespread service disruptions, infrastructure breakdowns, and significant livestock losses.

Anticipatory analysisNatural hazards
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