Afghanistan has been in a state of complex emergency for over the past twenty years. The country’s infrastructure and systems have been largely destroyed. An estimated 22 million Afghans, or 70% of the population, live in poverty and substandard conditions. 40% children less than three years old are underweight and 54% of under five are stunted. Over 100,000 people - most of them children and women - remain displaced by conflict and drought. The security situation in the country is deteriorating; more areas have fallen into active military operation zones between the Government/Coalition forces and Anti-Government Elements (AGE), which hampers humanitarian operations and access to affected populations. In 2007, approximately 40-50 per cent of the districts in the country were not accessible to UN missions for extended periods due to insecurity and movement restrictions. Southern provinces and some provinces in the west, east and southeast are most affected.Owing to the shortage of wheat flour in Pakistan, residents of many areas in Afghanistan, including the central capital Kabul, are currently suffering from increasing prices of basic commodities and food shortages. The situation is further compounded by heavy snowfall, which resulted in more than 123 deaths, significant loss of livestock and has blocked many roads and rendered several areas inaccessible. The delivery of food and non-food items to a number of already vulnerable locations has been delayed due to the bad weather. As a result, the prices of food and fuel have risen even further, making it more difficult for low-income families to meet their food and heating requirements. Officials in some affected provinces have warned that if roads remain blocked and food and non-food items do not reach vulnerable communities in the near future, the current shortages could lead to a humanitarian crisis. Children and women are among the most vulnerable and those most likely to suffer from this situation.
The year 2007 started with an early and unexpected number of flash floods and population movement as result of heavy rains and armed conflict. From January up to end June 2007, over 28 floods were reported in all regions of the country affecting over 10,000 families. During this period the country also experienced a variety of natural and man-made disasters such as heavy snow falls, landslide, disease outbreaks, armed conflict and influx of Afghan refugees from Iran.
The security situation in the country is deteriorating; more areas have fallen into active military operation zones between the Government/Coalition forces and Anti-Government Elements (AGE) which hampers humanitarian operations and access to affected populations. In January 2007, 1,500 families were displaced in the Southern province of Helmand as a result of armed conflict.
School incidents and threats against students and teachers continue to terrorize education in Afghanistan. Thirty one attacks against schools, mainly torching schools and explosions were reported in all parts of the country during 2007 up to June. Deliberate attacks on girl students and women teachers resulted in at least 4 deaths and 6 injuries. Only in the four southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul, out of a total of 740 schools, it is estimated that 262 (unconfirmed) of them are no longer providing education services to students.
UNICEF urgently requires US$ 7 million to respond to the urgent needs of children and women.
Afghanistan Donor Update 25 July 2007 [pdf]
Afghanistan has faced a serious drought in the north, northeast, west and southern provinces affecting 2.5 million people, 50 per cent of them children. The lack of water and food will exacerbate the outbreak of disease and malnutrition among children. In addition, Anti Government Elements (AGE) are becoming more active in the south and south-eastern regions. The conflict between the Government of Afghanistan/ Coalition Forces and AGE is hampering humanitarian servies from reaching vulnerable groups and is forcing the population to move out of their villages for sage havens. So far, the Government has officially announced that more than 20,000 families are displaced from the Uruzgan, Helmand and Kandahar provinces, with numbers likely to increase with the spread of fighting to other areas. The combination of drought and conflict will lead to a further deterioration of the situation and will require massive mobilisation to save lives, in particular with respect to children and women.
Afghanistan Donor Update 7 November 2006 [pdf]