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Afghanistan map
UNICEF photo: two young girls; tent in the background © UNICEF Afghanistan/2018/Afshar Displaced children in Herat, Afghanistan, are enjoying a few hours of sunshine before the harsh winter sets in.

Afghanistan

In 2019, UNICEF and partners plan for:
300,000

people facing humanitarian situations accessing safe drinking water

377,000

children under 5 years with SAM admitted for treatment

200,000

people affected by conflict and natural disaster received winter clothes and other non-food items

2019 Requirements: US$50,000,000

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Snapshot

Total people in need: 6.3 million8
Total children (<18) in need: 3.8 million9

Total people to be reached: 750,00010
Total children to be reached: 572,00011

In Afghanistan, an estimated 3.8 million children will need protection and humanitarian assistance in 2019 due to increased violence, the impacts of natural disasters, including drought, and the harsh winter, which will hamper access to critical basic services.1 Given the multiple vulnerabilities that the population is already experiencing, this situation has exacerbated humanitarian needs. In 2018, nearly 289,000 people were verified as newly displaced by conflict,2 and displacement trends may worsen given the likelihood of insecurity ahead of the presidential elections planned for 2019. Up to 39 per cent of the population is poor, 10 million people lack access to essential health services and 3.5 million children (60 per cent of them girls) are out of school.3 One third of children in Afghanistan have experienced psychological distress related to the loss of family and the constant risk of death or injury4 due to conflict and attacks on schools. An estimated 2 million children under 5 years are suffering from acute malnutrition, including 600,000 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM).5 Persistent conflict has created long-standing socio-economic and development challenges that cannot be addressed through humanitarian assistance alone.

Humanitarian strategy

2019 programme targets

Nutrition

  • 377,000 children under 5 years with SAM admitted for treatment
  • 78,000 children aged 6 to 59 months among emergency-affected communities receiving vitamin A supplementation

Health

  • 75,000 children immunized against measles
  • 196,000 affected pregnant women and children benefiting from essential health services and health education

WASH

  • 300,000 people facing humanitarian situations accessing safe drinking water
  • 100,000 people accessing basic sanitation facilities

Child protection

  • 80,000 children accessing psychosocial support through child-friendly spaces
  • 7,500 children protected and supported through case management and family reunification
  • 200,000 people affected by conflict and natural disaster received winter clothes and other non-food items

Education

  • 160,000 affected children and adolescents provided with access to quality education

As the cluster lead agency for nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), child protection and education, UNICEF will continue to provide effective leadership and strengthen coordination, planning and response in Afghanistan. The 2019 health and nutrition response will shift to build on lessons learned in 2018. This will include expanding the use of sub-district health centres and mobile teams to provide crisis-affected people in hard-to-reach areas with essential health services. While integrated approaches are costlier, they have proven to be an effective method of reaching the most affected children and women with life-saving humanitarian assistance. As part of efforts to strengthen the linkages between humanitarian action and development programming, UNICEF will invest in local and community capacities, such as child protection action networks and community-based education actors, to identify durable solutions to the most pressing needs of affected populations. This will include leveraging its strengthened and expanded partnerships with local and national nongovernmental organizations to reach remote locations; and contributing to multi-sector, multi-agency needs assessments, while advocating for and applying multi-year humanitarian planning.6

Results from 2018

As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$24.3 million available against the US$38.8 million appeal (63 per cent funded).7 In 2018, UNICEF and partners reached 1.6 million children, women and other emergency-affected people with humanitarian assistance. Support focused on people affected by drought and conflict and returnees from Iran and Pakistan. Services were provided both in camps for internally displaced persons and in places of origin, particularly for the drought response. UNICEF provided an integrated package of support that included gender-sensitive and culturally-appropriate education and WASH services, child-friendly spaces and mobile health and nutrition teams. UNICEF also provided funding, technical assistance and supplies, such as vaccines, ready-to-use therapeutic food and drugs for health facilities and mobile health teams; and non-food items such as newborn, clean delivery and family kits and winter clothing for children. UNICEF also strengthened the capacities of cluster members and coordinated and advocated for flexible funding for the WASH and nutrition clusters, enabling them to reach 2 million people. The child protection and education sectors only received 13 and 17 per cent of appeal funds, respectively. UNICEF reprogrammed funds from its core resources to ensure the delivery of essential services.

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Funding requirements

In line with Afghanistan’s multi-year, inter-agency 2018-2021 Humanitarian Response Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$50 million to meet the humanitarian needs of women and children in 2019. These resources will allow UNICEF to boost its response to SAM and expand its use of mobile health services in the hardest-to-reach and most deprived areas, which will require significant resources. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the country-wide response to the ongoing nutrition crisis in Afghanistan and provide critical services to internally displaced persons and returnees facing the spread of diseases.

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1 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Afghanistan: 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview’, OCHA, 2018.
2 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Afghanistan Weekly Field Report 06-11 November 2018’, OCHA, 11 November 2018, https://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/afghanistanweekly-field-report-05-11-november-2018, accessed 2 December 2018.
3 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Afghanistan: 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview’, OCHA, 2017, https://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/2018-afghanistanhumanitarian-needsoverview, accessed 2 December 2018.
4 Ibid.
5 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Afghanistan: 2019-2021 Humanitarian Response Plan’ (draft), OCHA, 2018. The Humanitarian Response Plan document was not finalized/published at the time of writing this appeal. The appeal will be updated to be aligned with the published Humanitarian Response Plan, once finalized.
6 This is in line with UNICEF’s Grand Bargain commitments, and UNICEF is committed to its implementation.
7 Available funds include US$12.2 million received against the 2018 appeal and US$12.1 million carried forward from the previous year.
8 The target population includes both acute and chronic humanitarian needs. ‘Afghanistan: 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview’
9 Ibid. Based on the ratio of children to total population used in the Humanitarian Needs Overview/Humanitarian Response Plan (60 per cent).
10 Calculated based on the number of children under 5 years to be treated for SAM, plus the number of children aged 5 to 18 years to be provided with education, plus the number of adults to be provided with WASH services, plus the number of women to receive health services minus the overlap between the last two groups, plus the number of children to be vaccinated against measles who do not receive any other services due to a different geographic focus.
11 Calculated based on the number of children under 5 years to be treated for SAM, plus the number of children aged 5 to 18 years to be provided with education, plus the number of children under 18 years to benefit from safe drinking water, plus the number of children to be vaccinated against measles, minus those children who will benefit from more than one of these services due to a different geographic focus.
12 Given the vast needs in the area of SAM treatment and the increase in capacities and partnerships, the nutrition funding ask has increased to treat a higher number of children and extend the reach of mobile teams to the most hard-to-reach communities and children.
13 As per the humanitarian strategy, UNICEF’s health programme approach has shifted to an increased use of mobile health and nutrition teams to reach the most disadvantaged children and mothers. While this will result in an increase in the cost of the services, this is a more effective way to deliver life-saving health assistance to the people most in need.
14 Given the potential deterioration in the humanitarian situation due to population movements related to drought and conflict, UNICEF will increase its investment in emergency preparedness in 2019 for both cluster members and development partners.