United Nations’ Food Agency Highlights Huge Funding Gap for Afghanistan Humanitarian Aid, Says it Need $800 Million


The latest: The United Nations announced that it is concerned about the huge funding gap for the Afghanistan Humanitarian Funding Plan (HRP) for 2023, which comes at a time when aid needs are at an all-time high in the country.


Go deeper:

  • “The WFP urgently needs $800 million for the next six months to continue providing assistance to people in need across Afghanistan,” the organization said.
  • “Catastrophic hunger knocks on Afghanistan’s doors and unless humanitarian support is sustained, hundreds of thousands more Afghans will need assistance to survive,” it added.
  • The World Food Program said women aid workers play a vital role in delivering the agency’s food and nutrition assistance and that it it will make “every possible effort” to keep this going, while also trying to ensure the active involvement of female staff.
  • UN’s Afghan operations remain severely under-funded, with $249 million reported to be confirmed for 2023, nearly one-third of the amount received for the same period in 2022.
  • “The total ‘immediate’ funding requirements to address critical gaps for the coming three months is $717.4 million,” according to a statement from the agency’s office for humanitarian affairs. This is all part of an overall funding gap of $4.38 billion across the humanitarian response for 2023.
  • Afghanistan is dealing with its third consecutive year of drought-like conditions, a second year of crippling economic decline, and is still suffering from decades of conflict and natural disasters.
  • The report, prepared for donors to support them in their funding decisions, highlighted UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s concerns with under-funding ahead of spring in Afghanistan.
  • “Spring comes with key risks of floods and rise in communicable diseases – such as acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), cholera, measles and other waterborne diseases – in a context where Afghans are already facing record-level food insecurity, malnutrition, water scarcity and drought-like conditions.”
  • The report also outlines the most time-sensitive underfunded gaps in the response drawing from expected countrywide scenarios for the first half of 2023.
  • Aid agencies have been providing food, education and health care support to Afghans in the wake of the Taliban takeover of August 2021 and the economic collapse that followed it. But distribution has been severely impacted by a Taliban edict last December banning women from working at national and international nongovernmental groups.
  • The UN was not part of this ban but last week it said the Taliban-led government has stopped Afghan women from working at its agencies in the country. Authorities have yet to comment on the restriction.


Zoom out: The United Nations’ Food Agency had previously too said that Afghanistan is its lowest-funded operation globally, despite being the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.

  • The Taliban takeover drove millions of Afghans into poverty and hunger after foreign aid stopped almost overnight. Sanctions on Taliban rulers, a halt on bank transfers and frozen billions in Afghanistan’s currency reserves restricted access to global institutions and the outside money that supported the country’s aid-dependent economy before the withdrawal of US and NATO forces.
  • OCHA stated that between January and February this year, humanitarian partners reached at least 10.3 million people with food and livelihoods support; 2.5 million people with access to health care (consultations and treatment); more than 880,000 children and pregnant and lactating women with support to prevent and address acute malnutrition; 1 million people with water, sanitation and hygiene assistance; 480,000 children with access to education and education materials; 166,000 people with emergency shelter and household items; and 80,000 people with protection assistance – despite funding constraints and access challenges.
  • Humanitarians were not able to reach people with the full package of intended assistance due to underfunding and late disbursements. So far, five percent of the required funding has been received in 2023 against the $4.62 billion required.
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