UN: Afghanistan humanitarian response plan remains severely underfunded

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in its latest report released on Monday raised concern about the large humanitarian funding gap for Afghanistan at a time when aid needs are at an all-time high in the country.

The report highlights the aid agency’s concerns with under-funding ahead of spring in Afghanistan and its preparation for donors to help them in their funding decisions.

According to the UN aid agency, by the end of the first quarter of 2023, the Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) remains “severely under-funded” with $249 million reported to be confirmed for 2023, nearly one-third of the amount the agency received by the same time in 2022.

“This remains a concern as humanitarian needs in Afghanistan are at an all-time high, the country is feeling the blow of the third consecutive year of drought-like conditions and the second year of crippling economic decline, while still reeling from the effects of 40 years of conflict and recurrent natural disasters.” The UN aid agency stated in the report.

The UNOCHA further stated that due to underfunding and late disbursements, the humanitarian agencies were not able to reach people with the full package of intended assistance. “So far, 5% of the required funding has been received in 2023 against the $4.62 billion required,” added the agency.

Regarding the Taliban ban on female NGO staff, the agency stated that all humanitarian activities are affected and several aid agencies suspended their activities until assurances are made on access for female staff as well as staff safety.