Afghanistan map
UNICEF photo: © UNICEF Afghanistan IDP Camp in Khost province

Afghanistan

UNICEF is appealing for US$50.9 million to meet the growing humanitarian needs of children and women in Afghanistan in 2015.

In 2015, UNICEF and partners plan for:
160,000

children ages 0-59 months affected by SAM admitted for treatment

300,000

IDPs and host communities provided with sufficient quantity of water of appropriate quality for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene

40,000

40,000 school-aged children including adolescents access formal and informal education

2015 Requirements: US$50,909,000

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Snapshot

Total affected population: 6.9 million
Total affected children: 2.8 million

Total people to be reached in 2015: 6.9 million
Total children to be reached in 2015: 2.8 million

Protracted conflict, recurrent natural disasters, chronic poverty and underdevelopment continue to undermine the survival, livelihood and dignity of Afghans. The existing humanitarian needs intensified due to violent conflict and widespread occurrence of natural disasters in 2014, resulting in large-scale displacements of people to informal settlements where poor sanitation, minimal livelihood opportunities and few essential services significantly increased their vulnerability and deprivation, particularly for women and children. A total of 1.9 million Afghans were identified as in need of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services. The number of people enduring prolonged displacement has now reached 750,0001. A total of 6,000 civilian casualties were reported in the first half of 2014 – an increase of 25 per cent over the same period in 2013.2 During the same period over 520 children were killed and 1,391 injured. A total of 175 schools (providing classes for over 87,500 children) that were used as polling stations for the presidential elections were attacked and closed for a long period of time. Conflicts continue to cause widespread disruption to health and other services. Measles is a major cause of child deaths in refugee and IDP camps and an estimated 45 per cent of all child deaths are linked to malnutrition. Children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have a higher risk of death from common childhood illness such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. The National Nutrition Survey (NNS) puts the number of children ages 0-59 months with SAM requiring treatment in 2015 at 517,596 – up from 98,900 in 2014. Overall, 6.9 million Afghans (including 2.8 million children) will be in need of critical living-saving interventions in 2015.3

Humanitarian strategy

2015 Programme Targets

Nutrition

  • 160,000 children ages 0-59 months affected by SAM admitted for treatment
  • 600,000 children ages 6-23 months in the affected areas receive multiple micronutrient supplementation
  • 650,000 women with children ages 0-23 months receive IYCF counselling/promotion messages

Health

  • 200,000 pregnant women and children under 5 benefit from a standby capacity for coping with any humanitarian crises
  • 600 Community Health Workers trained on immunization, maternal and new-born care
  • 200,000 children ages 9 months to 10 years receive measles vaccination and vitamin-A supplementation
  • 100,000 affected population receive health education and key messages

WASH

  • 300,000 IDPs and host communities provided with sufficient quantity of water of appropriate quality for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
  • 300,000 IDPs and host communities supported with appropriate sanitation facilities and living in an environment free of open defecation
  • 300,000 IDPs provided with hygiene kits including hygiene items for hand washing and menstrual hygiene
  • 50,000 children (50% girls) benefit from appropriate WASH facilities and hygiene education at 100 affected schools and 50 child-friendly schools

Child protection

  • 6,000 conflict and emergency-affected boys and girls including separated children and survivors of gender-based violence benefit from multi-sectoral services (health, psychosocial, justice)
  • 500 children associated with armed groups integrated with their families and provided with care services
  • 500 children in humanitarian situations integrated with their families or provided with alternative care services
  • 26,000 children provided with mine action interventions including Mine Risk Education (MRE) and survivors’ assistance
  • Over 78% of reported grave child rights violations verified through Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM)

Education

  • 40,000 school-aged children including adolescents access formal and informal education
  • 40,000 school-aged children including adolescents access education programmes that have incorporated psychosocial support
  • 50 safe and protected temporary learning centres established and supported

UNICEF will continue to work closely with clusters in all humanitarian situations including providing leadership and support to policy and strategy development, as well as partner capacity development across UNICEF-led clusters. Specifically, focus will be on expansion of treatment of SAM in the most affected provinces, nutrition assessments/ surveys, and prevention of under-nutrition for children under 5 and pregnant or lactating women. Also, the leadership of the WASH cluster will be resumed and the update and implementation of the Inter-Agency Contingency Plan for effective emergency response will be supported. Jointly with the Health cluster, partners will prepare for disease outbreaks, support outpatient immunization, support maternal and newborn services, and support integrated management of childhood illnesses and referral of complicated cases. As the lead for the Child Protection sub-cluster, UNICEF will support: the identification, interim care, family tracing and reunification of separated and unaccompanied children; the establishment of child-friendly spaces and provision of psychosocial support to survivors of gender-based violence; and child protection rapid assessments to inform humanitarian response. UNICEF will continue to report on grave violations against children in armed conflict, and support advocacy to prevent recruitment of child soldiers. Finally, UNICEF will assist the Ministry of Education in strengthening coordination and partner capacity-building for education in emergencies interventions.

Results 2014

UNICEF had US$25 million available in 2014 of the US$36.4 million appeal (of which US$4 million was carried forward from 2013). This has allowed UNICEF in collaboration with government and other partners to meet the humanitarian needs of 1.4 million children and women – 64 per cent of the targeted beneficiaries – as shown in the table below.

To prevent acute diarrhoeal outbreaks, UNICEF supported the provision of safe drinking water through the rehabilitation of existing water supply schemes, water trucking, water treatment, construction of emergency latrines and hygiene promotion including distribution of hygiene kits to families affected by floods and landslides. Due to unanticipated floods and an influx of refugees from Pakistan, the planned target in this sector was exceeded.

Psychosocial support and recreation activities were provided for a total of 691 boys and 479 girls who were affected by landslide and floods in Badakhshan and Baghlan provinces through the establishment of eight child-friendly spaces. Only 25 per cent of the target was reached due to lack of human resources and partners in child protection. Furthermore, 10 girls and 328 boys, including a large number of children detained for alleged suicide attacks and other national security related charges, received case management and counselling in two Juvenile Rehabilitation Centers (JRC), with the largest caseloads in Kabul and Kandahar cities. UNICEF also advocated to mitigate the risk of attacks on schools used as polling centers during the presidential election, which resulted in the removal of some schools at high risk.

Nutrition interventions were provided in 28 provinces including the emergency-affected provinces of Khost, Paktya, Paktika and Helmand. UNICEF’s 31 cluster partners treated 71 per cent of targeted SAM children in 622 therapeutic feeding centres. Funding constraints delayed providing capacity development to nutrition partners in emergencies, and in undertaking nutrition assessments.

Due to low funding for health, UNICEF used un-earmarked and carry-over emergency funds to provide new-born clean delivery kits and paediatric medicines through Provincial Public Health Directorates. Six hundred community health workers from southern, western and central regions received community counselling skills enhancement. Two measles campaigns were conducted in response to outbreaks among those displaced by floods and landslides in June, and in response to sporadic outbreaks in August. UNICEF supported the Ministry of Education to strengthen its capacity in education in emergencies and: (i) provided teaching and learning materials to 38 schools affected by floods and landslides in the northern region; (ii) established 11 community-based schools for out-of-school children in grades 1-3 in conflict affected areas in the eastern region; (iii) in partnership with NRC provided education to 2,089 Pakistani refugees (31 per cent girls) in Khost Province; (iv) rehabilitated 13 schools in emergency-affected areas covering over 6,500 children; (v) advocated for reopening of 20 schools (benefitting over 10,000 children) in Farah Province; (vi) supported psychosocial services through the establishment of child-friendly spaces in northern region benefitting 11,900 children (4,165 girls) and 138 teachers in 36 schools, and for 1,974 internally displaced children in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. Overall, insecurity, lack of access and insufficient funding are important factors affecting the ability of UNICEF and partners to meet some targets set in 2014.

Funding requirements

In line with the revised inter-agency Strategic Response Plan for Afghanistan, UNICEF is appealing for US$50.9 million to meet the growing humanitarian needs of children and women in Afghanistan in 2015. These critical emergency funds are vital to help UNICEF effectively support the national response to Afghanistan’s continuing nutritional crisis, to provide critical WASH services, and to provide the conflict-affected population with basic health services and emergency education.

1 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Afghanistan Common Humanitarian Action Plan, OCHA, New York, 2014.
2 Ibid. 
3 Ibid.