OCHA’s pooled funds support aid for people affected by drought in Afghanistan
Two years of failed rains have left Afghanistan crippled by a severe drought that has left two thirds of the country one stage away from famine.
Since the beginning of the integrated drought response in August, humanitarian partners have reached more than 690,000 people with life-saving assistance. Now, Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Country based Humanitarian Fund (CBPF) for Afghanistan (AHF) have allocated $34.6 million in emergency aid to support 2.2 million people in dire need of assistance.
With these funds, 7 national NGOs, 15 international NGOs and 4 UN agencies (WFP, UNICEF, FAO, WHO) will distribute food and seeds, maintain primary health services, provide emergency shelter, safe drinking water, improve hygiene and sanitation, treat severe malnutrition, and help farmers protect their livestock.
Much more is needed since Afghanistan’s Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) remains drastically underfunded. In fact, of the total $547 million requested to reach 4.2 million people, 64 per cent remains not funded.
The HRP is being revised for the second time this year after a first revision in May 2018 which resulted in an increase of $117 million in the amount sought due to the drought.
“The impact of the ongoing drought spans the north and west of the country leaving communities in deep distress. Village elders in rural areas tell me that this is the worst drought in their lifetime, and that food, fodder and seeds are needed urgently,” said Toby Lanzer, Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan. “The drought has forced a quarter of a million people from their land, and for the displaced, the need for shelter is critical as winter approaches.”
“The drought comes on top of years of conflict and poverty, and therefore humanitarian assistance goes hand in hand with development programmes to address underlying factors such as poverty and climate change. Our work is closely coordinated with the authorities, yet still more needs to be done so the people of Afghanistan can withstand severe shocks such as this drought.”
There is an estimated wheat production deficit of 2 - 2.5 million metric tons, which is 45-57 per cent of the annual average wheat production of 4.3 million metric tons. From August to October, 1.2 million people or 65 per cent of the 1.9 million people targeted to receive assistance - as part of the integrated drought response prioritizing response in 71 districts - were reached in their areas of origin as well as in places of displacement.