The arrival of COVID-19 in Afghanistan has brought heartache to millions of people who are now battling a deadly pandemic while simultaneously fighting for their survival amid poverty, disaster and war. Wide-spread food insecurity and climbing malnutrition rates are threatening the lives of millions. A third of the country is facing acute food insecurity including almost 4 million people at the emergency level – one of the highest figures in the world. People’s suffering is prolonged with chronic poverty and limited options for recovery. 4.1 million people remain displaced while escalating debt continues to deplete their capacity to cope with repeated shocks.
Of the 14 million people in need of humanitarian and protection assistance, humanitarian partners have prioritised 11.1 million to receive immediate assistance in 2020, for which US$1.1 billion is required. With more than 90 per cent of the country’s population living under the poverty line, COVID-19 is aggravating existing acute vulnerabilities. Tens of millions will require social (safety net-type) assistance from the Government and development actors to weather the impact of the pandemic.