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Afghanistan map
UNICEF photo: a young girl stands out in a crowded room, holding a blue UNICEF folder © UNICEF Afghanistan/2017/Froutan

Afghanistan

In 2017, UNICEF and partners plan for:
236,000

children under 5 with SAM admitted for treatment

200,000

returnees, internally displaced persons and members of host communities accessing safe drinking water

40,000

children accessing psychosocial support through child-friendly spaces

2017 Requirements: US$31,000,000

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Snapshot

Total people in need: 7.4 million1
Total children (<18) in need: 4 million

Total people to be reached in 2017: 990,000 million
Total children to be reached in 2017: 836,000 million

Conflict and displacement have continued into 2017, with 68,000 new internally displaced persons (IDPs) registered in the first quarter of the year. A considerable 23 per cent of this new caseload is in hard-to-reach areas. During the first half of 2017, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 5,243 civilian casualties (1,662 deaths and 3,581 injured) of which 1,577 were children (436 deaths and 1,141 injured). There has been a one per cent increase in child death and injuries compared to the first half of 2016. Vulnerable returnees continue to arrive from Pakistan and Iran, while services in high returnee areas have yet to cope with the increasing demands. Malnutrition remains a problem with 1.3 million children under five in need of treatment for acute malnutrition in 2017.2 Health services currently reach around 60 per cent of the population and this is reflected in the low routine immunization coverage (less than 75 per cent coverage for measles in one quarter of districts). The armed conflict is also affecting education services including through the closure or destruction of schools.3

Humanitarian strategy

2017 revised programme targets

Nutrition

  • 236,000 children under 5 with SAM admitted for treatment
  • 30,000 returnee children 6-59 months receiving Vitamin A supplementation
  • 20,000 returnee children 24-59 months receiving deworming tablets

Health

  • 130,000 children immunized against measles
  • 80,000 affected pregnant women and children benefited from essential health services and health education

WASH

  • 200,000 returnees, internally displaced persons, people affected by natural disasters and members of host communities accessing safe drinking water
  • 100,000 returnees, internally displaced persons, people affected by natural disasters and members of host communities accessing sanitation facilities

Child protection

  • 40,000 children accessing psychosocial support through child-friendly spaces
  • 3,000 children protected and supported through case management
  • 100,000 conflict and natural disaster affected population receive non-food items support

Education

  • 100,000 emergency-affected children and adolescents provided with access to quality education

The Humanitarian Country Team has prioritized hard-to-reach districts where the displacement caseload is high and access to basic services is limited. Ten provinces with higher conflict incidents were prioritized.4 These provinces host more than 50 per cent of new and prolonged IDPs.5 UNICEF is using multiple modalities to reach communities that had not been reached for many years. UNICEF continues to lead the Nutrition and WASH clusters, and serves as a member of the Protection Cluster and Education in Emergency Working Group, to strengthen leadership, improve coordination and facilitate robust contingency planning. As of January 2017, the nutrition cluster no longer provides micronutrient powder (MNP) supplementation. Instead, UNICEF and partners enhanced emergency nutrition support to address the critical nutritional needs with a scale up of therapeutic nutritional support, vitamin A supplementation and deworming. UNICEF supports community-based schools and child-friendly spaces to provide education and psychosocial support services. Advocacy on children’s rights will continue at national and regional levels. As part of the interagency response to the harsh winter, UNICEF supports affected families with non-food items and winter kits through its Zone offices and partners countrywide.

Results to date

As of 30 September 2017, UNICEF had received US$16.7 million against the US$31 million appeal (53.9 per cent funded). Due to decreasing returnee trends and a slight decrease in absolute numbers of people to be reached, access to water and sanitation targets were reduced by 20 and 33 per cent respectively. While target for access to health services increased by 37 per cent and measles target increased by 80,000 for better coverage especially in hard-to-reach areas. In nutrition, targets for Vitamin A supplementation and deworming were added as therapeutic nutritional interventions were scaled up to address critical needs. A total of 9,804 returnee children (6-59 months) received Vitamin A supplementation to boost immunity and 8,147 returnee children (24-59 months) received deworming tablets to prevent loss of essential nutrients. 124,176 children (under-five) suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) received treatment. Low funding for education coupled with continued conflict resulted in low achievement with only 25.5 per cent (of planned 100,000) of girls and boys accessing emergency education services. UNICEF surpassed measles vaccination target, reaching 107,925 children, due to high number of protracted IDPs and returnees. Child Protection Minimum Standards (CPMS) were contextualized and rolled out at national and regional levels.

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Funding requirements

In line with the revision of the Afghanistan inter-agency 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), UNICEF has adjusted its appeal from US$30.5 million to US$31 million to meet the humanitarian needs of women and children in the country for the remainder of 2017. The changes are mainly reflect a 10 per cent decrease in the number of returnees in need of WASH services, and to include vulnerable children to be protected during the upcoming harsh winter season.

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1 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2017 Afghanistan Humanitarian Needs Overview
2 Revised Inter-Agency Humanitarian Response Plan, 2017
3 Ibid.
4 Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, Kunar, Nangarhar, Paktika, Uruzgan, Zabul, Faryab and Kunduz.
5 OCHA, June 2017