More than 50 per cent of Afghanistan’s population is in dire need of humanitarian assistance due a combination of crises: the effects of decades of conflict, a protracted and severe drought, the effects of other intense climate-related disasters, extreme economic hardship exacerbated by sanction-related impacts and unemployment, a weak health system which was already stretched by COVID-19 and most recently, by the re-emergence of vaccine preventable diseases, and system-wide gaps affecting the health, water, education, energy, and public service sectors. The country is facing one of the world’s worst food insecurity and malnutrition crises, with around 20 million people in crisis or experiencing emergency levels of food insecurity, and more than half of all children under-five projected to face acute malnutrition. With the combination of the severe drought – which has affected the entire country’s territory, and the impact to the agriculture and livestock sectors, which account for the bulk of economic activity, in such dire condition – compounded by the economic hardship, hundreds of thousands of households have been forced to adopt negative coping mechanisms as many are stuck in a quagmire of debt while prices of essential commodities continue to rise beyond reach. The economic situation is, in addition, driving millions of people into poverty.
Restrictions on protection, constraints relating to the participation of women and minority groups, and displacement inside and across borders are adding to the situation. Furthermore, there has been significant disruption of basic service structures over the past year, partly exacerbated by reluctance of some development funders to channel support via the new authorities. Additionally, a somewhat parallel structure, in which local authorities and actors are not the main drivers, has emerged with the potential of undermining sustainability of investments being made and hindering localization gains.
EMERGENCY APPEAL REVISION
Against the backdrop of the catastrophic humanitarian situation, the IFRC Secretariat is increasing its Emergency Appeal from CHF 36 million to CHF 80 million and extending the operation’s timeframe until 31 December 2023. The increase in funding requirements will enable IFRC to scale up humanitarian assistance as well as to implement interventions that bridge to development in Afghanistan. It also extends the operation’s geographical coverage from 19 to all 34 provinces of the country and increases the target to 1 million people.
Put together with the IFRC Secretariat’s Operational Plan for 2022 and 2023 (CHF 50 million), ARCS own funding for 2022 and 2023 (CHF 25 million) and funding by Participating National Societies working bilaterally in Afghanistan (CHF 45 million), the Federation-wide funding requirements until the end of 2023 amounts to CHF 200 million.
Collectively, the IFRC and its members are aiming to deliver assistance to two million people across 34 provinces of Afghanistan, translating to 10 per cent of the affected population.
The IFRC Secretariat Emergency Appeal operation is aiming to reach 1 million people across all 34 provinces of Afghanistan. This is an increase from 560,000 people and 19 provinces respectively compared to the targets that were outlined in the second revision. Within the provinces, prioritization of districts will be informed by the scale of needs, unmet gaps, and capacities of local branches of ARCS among other factors as will be consulted with key stakeholders. The stakeholders will include relevant IASC clusters, Red Cross Red Crescent partners in-country, local authorities, and communities.
Selection of households and individuals to receive assistance will be informed by existing selection and exclusion criteria and will utilize Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA) approaches. IFRC and ARCS will ensure consultation with members of target communities (including women, children, and people with a disability), community elders, public authorities, IASC clusters and other humanitarian organizations.