Photo: IRC

UNICEF: 29.2 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that the number of people in Afghanistan needing humanitarian assistance has risen to 29.2 million. This is due to the combined effects of drought, floods, insecurity, and political and economic instability.

In its latest report, UNICEF estimates that the economic crisis in Afghanistan will persist in 2023, leaving 64% of households struggling to meet their basic needs. The organization is calling for $1.45 billion to help meet the humanitarian needs of 19 million people in Afghanistan.

UNICEF highlighted the increased demand for protection services, with the number of people seeking such support rising from 20.3 million to 22.1 million, particularly in specialized protection services.

The report also found that approximately 8.7 million children require education support. Negative coping mechanisms, such as child labor, have become more common, with 31% of households reporting at least one child out of school.

Despite a marginal improvement in the food security outlook, over 15 million people are projected to face crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity from May to October 2023. With 17 out of 34 provinces reporting severe wasting and 13.3 million people lacking access to healthcare, any disruptions in services will have dire consequences for vulnerable populations already at high risk.

UNICEF also highlighted the challenges posed by the Taliban’s prohibition on women and girls working with aid agencies. This has significantly impacted the provision of assistance to vulnerable women and children across the country.

The organization further warned that the Taliban’s increasing bureaucratic impediments will hinder the process of providing aid to those in need in Afghanistan.