© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-1106/Noorani

A girl attends a community-based school in Kamar Kalagh, a village near Herat. Only 35 per cent of eligible Afghani girls attend primary school.


Over two decades of conflict and insecurity resulted in the destruction of most of Afghanistan’s infrastructure, including human resource capacity and technical expertise. Despite the first government being elected in 2005 and the strong commitment to the rebuilding of the country, the security situation in most parts is deteriorating. Over 40 per cent of the country is inaccessible to humanitarian aid workers. Over 11 million people are suffering from drought and high food prices. Active military operations cause huge civilian causalities and hamper access to affected populations. There are over 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country. Floods, disease outbreaks and deportation have also been common phenomena in 2008. Despite improvements in education in recent years, the disparity between boys and girls remains a big challenge. The primary school enrolment for girls stands at 35 per cent compared to boys at 64 per cent. Only 22 per cent of the population has access to improved drinking-water sources and 30 per cent to safe sanitation facilities. Despite the significant reduction in under-five mortality (25 per cent), health services have yet to reach the marginalized people and those living in remote and hard-to-reach areas.


The emergency response is coordinated by the Government of Afghanistan through its Emergency Response Commission. UNICEF’s support is provided through this Commission along with NGO inputs and is coordinated by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The Commission is chaired by the Vice-President. UNICEF-supported programmes are expected to reach at least 3 million children and women in 2009.

Health and Nutrition: UNICEF will provide some 500,000 vulnerable children among the displaced, returnees, host communities and impoverished with essential emergency drugs and equipment, nutrition supplies and micronutrients; undertake nutrition assessment and capacity-building; vaccinate against measles; and provide rapid response to diarrhoeal and acute respiratory disease outbreaks.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: UNICEF will assist over 1 million displaced persons, returnee families and drought-affected communities by providing water tankering, chlorinating wells, constructing 1,000 sanitary household latrines, repairing 1,000 water points and piped water schemes, and constructing 10 strategic bore wells and 400 community water points. UNICEF will also undertake hygiene education and communication campaigns for the control of diarrhoeal diseases in the event of outbreaks.

Education: UNICEF will reach over 500,000 children through the construction of 30 cost-effective schools in remote areas for 15,000 children; procure teaching/learning materials and teacher support for 20,000 students with special focus on IDP and returnee areas; and provide psychosocial support to traumatized and war-affected children in 1,000 schools across the country. 

Child Protection: UNICEF will support children affected by armed conflict and natural disasters creating child-friendly play areas for over 8,000 children and community-based psychosocial corners; strengthen the monitoring of child rights’ violations and abuse, promote mine-risk awareness and trace and reunite separated children in the event of natural and man-made disasters.

Emergency Relief and Coordination: UNICEF will preposition/provide non-food supplies for 30,000 families with a standard package of family kits, tarpaulins, blankets, warm clothing for women and children and collapsible water containers.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2009*
Sector US$
Health and Nutrition 4,000,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 5,000,000
Education 3,000,000
Child Protection 1,000,000
Emergency Relief and Coordination 2,500,000
Total** 15,500,000

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other, underfunded emergencies.
** The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.