Photo: OCHA

OCHA: Humanitarian needs at an all-time high in Afghanistan as funding dwindles

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned that the humanitarian needs in Afghanistan are all-time high due to conflict, drought, and acute poverty.

In a recent report on Sunday, OCHA said that the Afghanistan humanitarian response has been largely impacted due to funding shortfall, leaving vulnerable families without urgent assistance including food.

OCHA’s multi-sectoral humanitarian response requires $3.23 billion for this year, but it has only received $744 million, which is 23% of the total.

The worsening humanitarian crisis is threatening over two-thirds of the population in the country, approximately 28.8 million people.

The UN agency states that it has significantly reduced the number of food-insecure people from its assistance, down from 13 million in January to 9 million between March and April and 5 million people in May.

Additionally, underfunding has forced OCHA to discontinue 262 mobile health facilities for nearly two million at-risk people.

Some 2,800 community-based classes also face closure this month, negatively affecting more than 141,000 children, most of them girls.

Should the funding gap widens, OCHA warns it will have no choice but to decrease the already degrading number of humanitarian assistance at a time when a harsh winter is approaching.

This means that the UN agency will have to reduce the number of people targeted for food assistance down to 3 million from September. There will also be a reduction in livelihoods support from 9 million to 5 million people, an increase in the number of community-based classes closed of up to 3,300 by October, as well as the discontinuation of 173 mobile, health, and nutrition teams in August, affecting up to 70,200 children under five.

“Funding is urgently needed to get ahead of winter and pre-position critical humanitarian supplies before many areas get cut off in October due to freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall.” The report indicates.

OCHA has called on the international community and humanitarian partners to join forces and mobilize the necessary funding to alleviate the suffering of millions of vulnerable people.