A young woman holds her daughter outside their home in Helmand Province. Neither the woman nor any of her 17 siblings attend school because there are none in the area. Five million Afghan children, mostly girls, do not have access to education.
Children and Women in Crisis
In 2010, damaging floods added to the humanitarian needs experienced by children and women in Afghanistan, where children live in the midst of a deadly conflict piercing the surface of the country’s social and political life. The total population of internally displaced people has recently increased to over 440,000 people, 60 per cent of whom fled due to conflict.1 These individuals have heightened vulnerability to illness and undernutrition. Widespread violence has decimated infrastructure, and around 5 million children, mostly girls, cannot access education.2 In 2010, heavy flooding throughout the country damaged water systems and adversely affected the lives of thousands of families. Relief efforts for internally displaced children and families are stymied by violence aimed at aid workers, and worsened security conditions are forecast for 2011, a testament to the need for strong, effective humanitarian aid and the challenge in providing it.
Meeting Urgent Needs and Building Resilience in 2011
Together with the Government of Afghanistan, other UN agencies and NGOs, and as cluster lead for nutrition and WASH and co-lead for education, UNICEF will meet the basic humanitarian needs of an estimated 2.4 million people.
- Some 23,000 severely malnourished children and 216,000 pregnant and lactating women will benefit from community-based nutrition care, counselling from emergency-skilled health workers and supplementary feeding.
- As many as 40,000 internally displaced persons will be provided with family kits, and nationally, 270,000 children and 108,000 women who are pregnant or lactating will have access to adequate health care.
- WASH activities will include construction of 1,200 community water systems, 40 strategic water points and rehabilitation of 1,000 non-functional water supply systems.
- Immediate educational needs will be met for over 584,000 students and 12,000 teachers in the most remote and vulnerable areas of the country, while relief supplies of emergency teaching materials will continue to be built up.
- Child protection actors, including Save the Children Alliance, Child Fund Afghanistan, War Child UK and Children in Crisis will be supported to provide services tailored to the needs of children affected by armed conflict and those who are victims of violence, abuse or exploitation.
Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2010
In 2010, UNICEF estimated that US$25,064,484 was needed for its humanitarian work in Afghanistan. As of October 2010, a total of US$9,572,677 had been received, or 38 per cent of the 2010 request. Given this level of funding, UNICEF made progress in improving the prospects of children and women by providing paediatric medicines for over 40,000 children suffering from respiratory infections related to the H1N1 epidemic. Some 6.5 million children under 5 years old were successfully supplemented with vitamin A. About 700,000 people received access to safe water through construction of numerous new water facilities. UNICEF assisted in the ongoing operation during the difficult winter months of more than 1,300 schools for 584,000 students and was involved in the reporting, monitoring and management of 1,700 child protection cases (700 girls and 1,000 boys).
Funding Requirements for 2011
UNICEF is requesting US$29,750,000 to carry out its planned activities in Afghanistan. This request is aligned with the 2011 Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) requirements. Full funding will empower UNICEF to respond to the many humanitarian needs experienced by children and women in Afghanistan and continue its work building the resilience of a vulnerable population.
More information on achievements of 2010 and the humanitarian action planned for Afghanistan in 2011 can be found at www.unicef.org/hac2011.
1 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Afghanistan 2011: Consolidated Appeal”, United Nations, Geneva, November 2010, p. 1.
2 Initial Assessment of the Afghanistan National Education Strategic Plan (NESP II) 1389-1393 (2010-2014), p. 16.
UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2011 (in US dollars) Total $29,750,000