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Afghanistan map
UNICEF photo: children look out windows of a vehicle © UNICEF/Aziz Froutan/2016 On 4 October 2016, Afghan returnee children on the move at Torkham border, Nangarhar, Afghanistan. In 2016, more than 600,000 Afghan refugees have started returning to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan

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

children under 5 with SAM admitted for treatment

250,000

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

28,600

children accessing psychosocial support through child-friendly spaces

2017 Requirements: US$30,500,000

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Snapshot

Total people in need: 9.3 million1
Total children (<18) in need: 5 million

Total people to be reached in 2017: 1.9 million
Total children to be reached in 2017: 1.03 million

The armed conflict and rising insecurity in Afghanistan forced 245,000 people2 to flee their homes in 2016, bringing the cumulative number of internally displaced people to 1.1 million. Although more than 600,000 Afghan refugees returned from Pakistan and Iran by early December,3 most have not yet resettled into their respective communities due to insecurity. Afghanistan is also hosting 175,000 Pakistani refugees4 who fled insecurity related to military operations in Waziristan in 2014. Natural disasters, particularly earthquakes, floods, landslides and drought, affect 235,000 people every year on average.5 The fighting is impacting the provision of basic services, with the closure or destruction of schools and health facilities. As a result, an estimated 1.9 million people are in dire need of protection and emergency health, education and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions. Afghanistan is also facing a national nutrition crisis, with an estimated 236,000 children in dire need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

Humanitarian strategy

2017 programme targets

Nutrition

  • 236,000 children under 5 with SAM admitted for treatment
  • 76,600 children under 5 receiving micronutrients

Health

  • 50,000 children immunized against measles
  • 50,000 affected people receiving health education

WASH

  • 250,000 returnees, internally displaced persons and members of host communities accessing safe drinking water
  • 150,000 returnees, internally displaced persons and members of host communities accessing sanitation facilities

Child protection

  • 28,600 children accessing psychosocial support through child-friendly spaces
  • 5,000 children protected and supported through case management

Education

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

UNICEF will continue to lead the nutrition and WASH clusters, and serve as a member of the protection cluster and the Education in Emergency Working Group, to strengthen leadership, improve coordination and facilitate robust contingency planning processes at national and sub-national levels. In health and nutrition, UNICEF will collaborate with Basic Package of Health Services project implementers to deliver services through existing health facilities. Mobile health teams and nutrition teams will serve populations outside of health facilities’ catchment areas. With the increasing focus on nutrition interventions, UNICEF's 2017 target for treating children with SAM has increased by almost 150 per cent. UNICEF will use innovative contingency/emergency programme agreements with per-capita costing to ensure the timely and effective provision of WASH services to the affected population. Risk mapping in provinces of high disaster risk will be developed and resilience will be strengthened at the provincial, district and community levels. UNICEF will support and establish community-based schools and child-friendly spaces using teachers and facilitators from affected communities. Advocacy on children’s rights will continue at national and regional levels, and efforts will be made to strengthen the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism.

Results from 2016

As of 31 October 2016, UNICEF had received US$18.2 million against the US$27.8 million appeal (65 per cent funded).6 UNICEF had to use funds from other sources7 to provide underfunded but critically needed humanitarian services, including to the large number of unanticipated returnees from Pakistan in transit centres and communities in the east and central provinces. UNICEF’s malnutrition response surpassed 2016 targets by the end of October, due to the unforeseen sudden influx of Afghan returnees from Pakistan, and the accelerated establishment of nutrition sentinel sites that were able to treat more children earlier than planned. A micronutrient supplementation campaign is pending a comprehensive capacity building package, which will ensure coherent messaging on the use of multiple micronutrient powder. By the end of October, UNICEF had already supported 97 per cent of children targeted for psychosocial support. Although UNICEF’s education-in-emergencies interventions provided safe and protective learning spaces for displaced and at-risk children, insufficient funding, the closure of schools due to insecurity and negative traditional norms undermined the attainment of the education targets established for 2016.

Funding requirements

In line with the Afghanistan inter-agency 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$30.5 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in the country in 2017. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to the country’s continuing nutrition crisis and provide critical WASH services to internally displaced persons facing the spread of diseases. Record levels of displacement in the country and record levels of civilian casualties – especially among children – necessitates a boost in education and child protection interventions in 2017.

1 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘2017 Afghanistan Humanitarian Needs Overview’, OCHA.
2 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Afghanistan Flash Appeal: One million people on the move – covering Sep-Dec 2016’, OCHA, 2016, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/afg_2016_flash_appeal_web.pdf, accessed 14 December 2016.
3 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘2017 Afghanistan Humanitarian Needs Overview’, OCHA.
4 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘2016 Humanitarian Response Plan Third Quarter Report of Financing, Achievements and Response Challenges: Afghanistan January-September 2016’, OCHA, 2016, www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/afghanistan/document/afghanistan-2016-humanitarian-response-plan-third-quarter-report, accessed 14 December 2016.
5 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘2016 Humanitarian Response Plan: Afghanistan January-December 2016’, OCHA, November 2016, http://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/afghanistan-2016-humanitarian-response-plan-january-december-2016, accessed 14 December 2016.
6 Available funds included funding received against the current appeal of US$3.1 million and US$15 million carried forward from the previous year.
7 Regular resources and other regular resources.