The human suffering in Afghanistan, one of Iran’s neighbouring countries, is rapidly turning into one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Following 40 years of war, economic decline, and rising poverty, the people of Afghanistan in 2021 faced intensified conflict, the worst drought in 27 years, and profound political turmoil. Today, at least 22 million people within Afghanistan are in need of humanitarian assistance. At the same time, decades of conflict have forced millions of Afghans to seek refuge in the neighbouring countries, where refugees and host communities need continued support.
On Tuesday, 11 January 2022, humanitarian partners are therefore coming together to launch joint response plans -- the Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan and the Afghanistan Situation Regional Refugee Response Plan -- to deliver vital humanitarian relief to 22 million people in Afghanistan and support 5.7 million displaced Afghans and local communities in five neighbouring countries. Apart from Afghans living in Iran, also refugees in Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are included in the humanitarian response plans.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said: “The needs of refugees cannot be dismissed, nor can the generosity of host countries be taken for granted. They need support and they need it today.”
The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said: “My message is urgent: don’t shut the door on the people of Afghanistan. Humanitarian partners are on the ground, and they are delivering, despite the challenges. Help us scale up and stave off wide-spread hunger, disease, malnutrition and ultimately death by supporting the humanitarian plans we are launching today.”
The Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan requires $4.44 billion, which is the largest humanitarian appeal ever launched. The Afghanistan Situation Regional Refugee Response Plan requires $623 million in funding for 40 organizations working in protection, health and nutrition, food security, shelter and non- food items, water and sanitation, livelihoods and resilience, education, and logistics and telecoms.
Around 80 per cent of those displaced within Afghanistan are women and children. These groups are particularly exposed to the risks of gender-based violence, exploitation, and trafficking, adding to the challenges of fleeing for safety.
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs