Forty years of war, recurrent natural disasters, chronic poverty, drought and the COVID-19 pandemic have devastated the people of Afghanistan, said a report issued by the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs, “OCHA.”
Even before the events of August 15, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was among the worst in the world, by the middle of the year, nearly half of the population, about 18.4 million people, were already in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. In 2021, one in three Afghans was facing Crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity and over half of all children under the age of five were expected to face acute malnutrition.
Protection and safety risks for civilians, especially women, children and people with disabilities, have also reached record levels. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 5,138 civilians (1,659) were killed and (3,524) injured in the first half of the year, with a sharp increase in Especially in losses recorded between May and June.
The sharp increase in hostilities across the country has also severely affected health facilities and health workers, further draining meagre resources in response to growing health needs including those fueled by new COVID-19 variables.
Direct and indirect attacks against schools along with COVID-19 preventive measures have disrupted important windows of education essential to children’s development and coping with trauma for a staggering 9.3 million children, while conflict has already forced more than 570,000 people to flee their homes so far this year.
Despite the growing insecurity, 757,000 undocumented Afghans were deported or returned from neighbouring countries between January and August.
Afghanistan is also facing its second drought in four years. In contrast to the recent drought which was relatively localized in the western region, the current drought affects a third of the country. This will drain the financial reserves and asset reserves of many people as they struggle to cope. Indeed, poor households have catastrophic levels of debt.