The Humanitarian Needs Overview report by UN OCHA (Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance) was published in November 2018 and it has given key figures relating to humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
The report estimated that 17 million people in Afghanistan are living in 106 conflict-affected districts of the country and 6.3 million are in acute need of humanitarian needs.
Of these 6.3 million people, 1.4 million are conflict affected, 700k are internally displaced, 270k are returnees and refugees, additional 140k are affected by sudden natural disasters while 3.9 million are affected by slow-onset natural disasters. Finally, only 2.6 million out of the 6.3 million have access to basic services.
The report further notes that “entering the 18th year of crisis, humanitarian needs in Afghanistan show no signs of abating. A chaotic and unpredictable security situation, combined with a severe drought, have prompted an almost doubling in the number of people in need compared to this time last year, newly displacing more than 550,000 civilians and pushing 3.6 million into emergency levels of food insecurity. Today, 6.3 million people 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.”
It has been pointed out that there are various drivers in the humanitarian respect. Firstly, armed conflict has trapped civilians in protection crisis, the report notes. This year records 98 suicide attacks.
Secondly, insecurity, poverty food insecurity, political instability and natural disaster have forced people to move, thus leading to displacement.
Thirdly, the effect of slow as well as sudden-onset natural disasters, especially drought, has affected more than two-thirds of Afghan the report notes, which has ‘devastated’ the agricultural sector and left 4 million people in need of life-saving assistance.
All the above factors have hindered and disrupted people’s access to essential services, particularly healthcare and education.
The report notes that, “Over the past year, suicide attacks, airstrikes and pervasive threats to life, security and well-being have plunged the Afghan people into a deepening protection crisis. Almost two-thirds of the Afghan population live in areas directly affected by conflict, many of them frequently exposed to violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law, including the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure. Population movement is now a permanent feature of the crisis, impacting on displaced and host communities alike, and compromising access to essential services. At the same time, a severe drought has left up to 3.9 million people in rural parts of the country in need of emergency food and livelihoods assistance, and sparked a significant displacement crisis in the western region.”
Water, sanitation and hygiene were also determinants and the report concedes that the situation of water supply and sanitation in Afghanistan is one of the worst in the world, as 60% Afghans don’t have access to improved sanitation and 36% use unimproved water sources.
Finally, in terms of food insecurity, the decade long drought is the primary factor while conflict is the second largest driver.