18.4 million Afghan people need life-saving help. US$1.3 billion more needed for humanitarian response
Kabul. January 19 – There are calls for urgent increases in humanitarian funding to Afghanistan, as figures reveal that just over 18million people[i], almost half the population, desperately need life-saving support.
Data reveals that this includes 9.7million children[i].
With no immediate end in sight to the decades-long conflict, Save the Children's Country Director in Afghanistan Chris Nyamandi said, "Millions of people are suffering every day because of poverty and conflict. It's especially hard on children many of whom have known nothing but violence. According to the latest UN figures[ii], nearly 6,000 people, a third of them children, were killed and injured between January and September last year
“Conflict continues to cause extreme physical and psychological harm, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes every year. The fighting will continue to fuel humanitarian needs this year. This will threaten people’s wellbeing and limit access to essential services like hospitals and clinics as well as humanitarian assistance.
"Now the schools are closed because of the harsh winter conditions and COVID-19 restrictions and they won't reopen until March. Meanwhile, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis."
As Mr Nyamandi explains, the plight of the Afghan people is threatened by inadequate humanitarian funding pledged by wealthy nations at a Geneva based conference last November.
"Aid to Afghanistan has alarmingly dropped at a time when the humanitarian need is rising. We're now in the unenviable position where aid falls far short of what's needed to meet the needs of the people.”
Ten-year-old Brishna* is from Nangarhar province. She told Save the Children, “We fled to Rodat district Nangarhar province due to intensive conflict. Life is difficult, my father is sick who is responsible to bring us food. My brother and I are collecting garbage to fire and cook. It has been a long time we hadn’t have proper food and clothes. My siblings and I always do wish to have three meals in a day with some fruits and a better life. Sometimes, we sleep with an empty stomach, during the winter we don’t have blanket and heat stuff to warm our house.”
COVID-19 in Afghanistan is having a catastrophic impact on millions of vulnerable families.
In 2020, World Bank[iii] estimates revealed that the pandemic had led to massive disruptions to imports including vital household items, which in turn is leading to rapid inflation. Ongoing natural and man-made disasters, and the added health and socio-economic strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, will deepen the humanitarian impact across the country.
In response, Save the Children is calling for at least another US$3bn[iv] in humanitarian assistance to help the Afghan people in 2021. Without it the humanitarian community will struggle to meet the growing needs of an entire generation of children whose lives have been blighted by conflict.
“Millions of people are suffering every day because of conflict, poverty, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. It's a desperately sad situation that needs urgent attention from the international community," said Mr Nyamandi.