1. General Overview:
I. During the last winter season (2016/2017), 33 out of 34 provinces were affected by extreme weather conditions that included heavy snowfall, avalanches and rain related disasters.
II. According to OCHA, from January to August 2017, there have been 144 persons killed and 125 injured due to natural disasters, with almost 50,000 persons affected in total, mostly by floods. More than 12,000 were affected by avalanches or heavy snowfall.
III. According to OCHA and MoRR, from January to 20 September 2017, more than 257,000 persons have been newly displaced by conflict in 2017, with 19% in hard to reach areas. The Western region is the second most affected (over 50,000), after the Northeast region2. According to MoRR, more than 300,000 persons returned (documented and undocumented) to Afghanistan from January to September 2017. This amounts to approximately 79,571 (IDP and returnee) families based on the average family size of seven persons.
IV. According to the Multi-Cluster Needs Assessment conducted by REACH in informal settlements in the Northern, Western, Eastern and Central regions in 2017, 69% people need fuel (the highest in the North and West, 80%) and 73% need winterization materials (highest rates in the South East and North, 85% and 89% respectively).
V. An NRC study revealed that 37% of those in the hard to reach areas live in worsening shelter conditions including damaged shelters, tents and makeshift structure as compared to 47% in urban areas.
VI. An IOM DTM assessment conducted in Baghlan, Balkh, Kabul, Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Nangarhar, Paktia, and Takhar regions also indicates that some IDPs and returnees are living in very poor shelter conditions. Some squat in abandoned and ruined properties, others live in tents or dig holes covered with tarpaulin.
VII. Winterization is one of the Core Focus Areas of the DiREC Policy Framework and an integrated part of the ES/NFI Cluster Strategy. UNHCR is the ES/NFI Cluster Lead Agency with support from IOM as the Co-chair.
VIII. Afghanistan consists of 70% mountainous areas at high altitude making populations located in these areas more vulnerable to winter conditions. Furthermore, 21 of the country’s 34 provinces across the central, Central Highlands, North, North-Eastern and Westerns regions did not only experience the most extreme and lasting winter temperatures but also host large IDP and recent returnee populations
IX. In coordination with the government, appropriately 78,013 families3 (546,091 individuals) are expected to be affected by the impending winter conditions. The projections are based on historical information, new displacements and returns, 2016 winterization response and a recent REACH multisector survey.
X. As winter temperatures including wet weather approaches, preparedness and response measures are vital to providing life-saving assistance in mitigating modality, protection risks, protection from elements and other health risks that are associated with the harsh weather conditions.
XI. A timely winterization response will save lives, prevent and mitigate protection risks (especially for women and children) and assist to address the extreme weather-related causes of poor health outcomes, overcrowded conditions, negative coping mechanisms and secondary displacements, amongst others