After over 40 years of continued crisis, Afghanistan remains one of the world's most acute and complex humanitarian emergencies, driven by escalating conflict and natural disasters. These shocks and disruptions have depleted the resilience of displaced, host, and natural disaster affected populations. Even under normal circumstances, it is difficult for households to meet their basic needs. This vulnerability is further exasperated by the harsh winter conditions in Afghanistan, where monthly temperatures can reach as low as -121 degrees centigrade.
Each year, freezing winter temperatures, especially in high altitude locations such as Bamyan, Ghazni, Nuristan, Wardak and Paktya drive the need for provision of life saving winter assistance for the majority of affected persons whose shelters 63 not protect against the cold and who do not have the financial capability to purchase fuel and heaters to supplement their heating requirements.
Conflict: Following the withdrawal of the international military forces the conflict had escalated and caused more internal displacements. So far 559,000 people have been displaced since beginning of the year in 32 out of 34 provinces. The months before winter are unpredictable due to the current uncertain political situation in Afghanistan. Access challenges are expected in many affected areas due to the unpredictable security situation and safety risks for staff. The displaced population are at heightened risk of exposure to the harsh winter climate.
Health: The winter month's season brings with it a rise in respiratory infection outbreaks. WoAA reported that there is constant increase in hospitalizations, morbidity, and mortality during winter months. The exposure to cold has often been associated with diminished immune response and increased incidence and severity of respiratory tract infections including asthma and dying from them. The longer the duration of exposure the higher the risk of infection. Some 25% to 30% of deaths in children below five years are due to respiratory tract infections, 90% of these deaths are due to pneumonia Furthermore, in many parts of the country, major roads are blocked during the winter months limiting referrals for secondary heath care and the provision of timely and sufficient life-saving mescal supplies to communities isolated during the winter months.