Emergencies

Supporting children and families affected by emergencies

Afghan returnee children use a wooden ladder to board a truck near the Torkham border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
UNICEF Afghanistan/2016/Froutan

Emergency response

Conflict and frequent natural disasters like flooding, avalanches and earthquakes take a devastating toll on the children and families of Afghanistan. During emergencies, children are especially vulnerable to disease, malnutrition, and violence. A crisis can threaten their mental health, their sense of security – a fundamental part of childhood – and their long-term well-being, particularly when they experience things no child should experience.

Afghanistan faces a complex situation in which an unresolved peace process overshadows continuous humanitarian needs. The displacement of around one million people and the difficult process to reintegrate them into their former communities generates new demands for services, infrastructure and livelihood for both displaced and host communities. On the other hand, persistent insecurity hampers access to some of the affected population, mostly women and children.  

UNICEF works to ensure that children living in conflict situations or experiencing natural disasters can enjoy the same rights as children everywhere else. 

UNICEF reaches refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, and disaster-affected populations with the services they need. We help provide children affected by emergencies with psychosocial support, safe water and adequate sanitation, child-friendly spaces for education and recreation, and other basic health, nutrition and protection services needed in the wake of a disaster. We also provide 'winter kits' (blankets, warm clothes, tarpaulins, among others) to children and families during the bitterly cold Afghan winter.

UNICEF is the lead agency for the national WASH Cluster, the Nutrition Cluster, and the Child Protection Sub-Cluster as well as a co-lead for the Education in Emergencies Working Group – essential coordination mechanisms in a crisis – to help partners effectively plan, respond, and recover from emergencies.