Photo: IRC

EU Allocates €150 Million to Prevent Famine in Afghanistan As Humanitarian Commitments Plummet

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – In an effort to mitigate the threat of famine in Afghanistan and support Afghan refugees in neighboring countries, the European Union (EU) has allocated nearly €150 million in humanitarian assistance for the country in 2024.

In a statement issued on Monday, June 10, the EU announced its latest contribution, specifying that nearly €126 million of the funding will aid partners operating in Afghanistan, over €11 million will be allocated for Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and nearly €11 million will support humanitarian organizations assisting Afghan refugees in Iran.

“In Afghanistan, EU funding will continue to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable populations, notably in hard-to-reach communities. Aid will focus on food assistance, shelter, healthcare and access to water and sanitation,” the EU detailed. 

“In Pakistan, over €7 million will go to respond to the humanitarian needs of displaced Afghans and their host communities. Another €4 million will be dedicated to disaster preparedness in the country.”

“In Iran, the vast majority of funding, up to €10.25 million, will go to address the needs of displaced Afghan populations and host communities,” it added. 

Afghanistan has been struggling with a severe humanitarian crisis for years, even before the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021. Since then, the situation has deteriorated further, with over 23 million people now in need of lifesaving aid.

Earlier, Save the Children reported that over 6 million children in Afghanistan, or six out of ten, will face crisis or emergency levels of hunger this year. The international humanitarian agency also projected that nearly 3 million children under the age of five in Afghanistan will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2024.

The ongoing forced deportation of undocumented Afghan refugees, primarily women and children, from neighboring Pakistan and Iran in recent years has further exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

In the past year, nearly 1.5 million individuals have been forcibly repatriated from Pakistan and Iran to Taliban-controlled, impoverished Afghanistan. According to Save the Children, 99% of families who have recently returned to Afghanistan, along with those in host communities, lack sufficient food for the next one to two months.

Meanwhile, humanitarian agencies have been facing one of the most severe funding shortfalls in the past years, as global attention remains primarily focused on ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.

In a report released yesterday, June 10, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) highlighted that it has received only $613.6 million, which is 20.1% of the $3.1 billion requested for Afghanistan in 2024.

The EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, emphasized in the EU statement that the people of Afghanistan are confronting one of the most severe humanitarian crises in the world. He noted that over 50% of the population requires humanitarian aid, with more than 85% living in poverty.

“It is crucial that the world does not look away from this ongoing emergency,” the EU official emphasized.