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UNICEF photo: Girl in a classroom © UNICEF Afghanistan/Rajat Madhok/2015 Girl in a classroom at a UNICEF supported, child-friendly school in Kabul.


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:

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


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


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

2015 Requirements: US$50,909,000

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Total affected population: 7.4 million
Total affected children: 3.2 million

Total people to be reached in 2015: 6.2 million
Total children to be reached in 2015: 2.2 million

The protracted conflict in Afghanistan, combined with natural disasters, is seriously affecting the survival, livelihood and dignity particularly of Afghan children and women. Due to the increase of violent incidents and attacks, and a combination of avalanches and floods in early 2015, over 900,000 people (61 per cent of whom are children) have been displaced to informal settlements with poor sanitation, minimal livelihood opportunities and inadequate essential services.1. In 2014, 710 children were killed and 1,792 were injured during fighting, or by improvised explosive devices.2 These figures represent a 47 per cent increase over 2013 casualties and preliminary reports indicate that this upward trend will continue throughout 2015. There is no provision within the current basic health service delivery system for responding to large-scale emergencies as only 57 per cent of affected areas are covered by basic health service providers. As such, there is an urgent need for trauma care, surgery and first aid posts to treat the wounded, and for standby capacity to provide immediate, life-saving interventions. At least 500,000 children3 under five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), but limited national capacity and insecurity mean that only 160,000 children can be treated. A total of 1.9 million4 Afghans are in need of safe drinking water, proper sanitation and hygiene services. As of June 2015, 734 schools were reportedly closed throughout the country due to insecurity, with 73 per cent of the closures being in the southern region. Overall, 7.4 million Afghans (of whom 3.2 million are children) are in need of critical life-saving interventions.5

Humanitarian strategy (July to December 2015)

2015 Programme Targets


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


  • 200,000 pregnant women and children under 5 benefit from a standby capacity for coping with any humanitarian crises
  • 200,000 pregnant women and children under 5 benefit from standby capacity for coping with a humanitarian crisis
  • 100,000 affected people received health education and key messages


  • 300,000 IDP and host communities provided with sufficient quantity of water of appropriate quality for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
  • 300,000 IDPs and host community supported with appropriate sanitation facilities and living in environment free of open defecation

Child protection

  • 6,000 conflict and emergency-affected boys and girls including separated children, GBV victims, benefited from multi-sectoral services (health, psychosocial, justice)
  • 26,000 children provided with mine risk education (MRE) through local media


  • 40,000 school-aged children including adolescents accessed formal and informal education
  • 40,000 school-aged children including adolescents accessed education programmes that have incorporated psychosocial support

UNICEF provides leadership in the areas of policy, strategy and capacity development across UNICEF-led clusters. In nutrition, the focus will remain on the expansion of SAM treatment in the most affected provinces, the prevention of under nutrition in children under five years of age, training of partners in 11 priority provinces for improved nutrition programing, support to nutrition assessments and to bottleneck analysis of the integrated management of acute malnutrition.

UNICEF and its health cluster partners will focus on preparing for disease outbreaks, supporting outpatient immunization, the provision of maternal and newborn services, the provision of integrated management services of childhood illnesses and referral of complicated cases. As the lead for the child protection sub-cluster, UNICEF will support the identification and care of separated/ unaccompanied children, the establishment of child friendly spaces, the provision of psychosocial support to victims of gender based violence (GBV), and support rapid assessments to inform the humanitarian response. UNICEF will continue to support the reporting on grave violations against children in armed conflict, and will advocate and support actions to prevent recruitment of children into armed groups. In terms of education, UNICEF will support the Ministry of Education in strengthening coordination and partner capacity building for Education in Emergencies interventions.

Results to date (1 January to 30 June 2015)

The WASH Cluster has undertaken two emergency preparedness and contingency planning workshops for government staff of 23 high-priority provinces, resulting in draft provincial WASH contingency plans. It has also conducted a cluster coordination performance monitoring exercise. UNICEF has so far received only 11 per cent of the WASH funding requirement which has been used for the prepositioning of emergency supplies, while WASH cluster partners received only 50 per cent of the total requirement as outlined in the Strategic Response Plan. As such, WASH results for the first half of the year have been low.

A rapid assessment of child protection in emergencies (including GBV and Education in Emergencies) covering all provinces has been completed. Capacity building of all key stakeholders on Child Protection Minimum Standards Work in emergencies is also ongoing.

UNICEF supported risk education for 10,571 children (including 571 internally displaced children) in Jowzan Province through local radio and television messaging to increase risk awareness and prevent casualties of children caused by landmines, unexploded ordinance and explosive remnants of war. Over 800 children, including children detained for alleged suicide attacks and other charges received counselling and psycho-social support in two Juvenile Rehabilitation Centers (JRCs) in Kabul and Kandahar provinces. Twenty staff members from both JRCs also obtained basic psychosocial skills.

UNICEF supported the Ministry of Education with 33 tents, as well as teaching and learning materials for 10,000 children affected by floods in north provinces. With partners, UNICEF provided teaching and learning materials, non-formal education, and psycho-social support to 2,900 refugee children from Pakistan in Khost Province and constructed 93 temporary classrooms. In addition, textbooks from Pakistan were provided to 5,200 refugee children in Khost and Paktika provinces to support their education.

Owing to lack of funding for health, UNICEF reprogrammed funds to provide critical emergency health services through Provincial Public Health Directorates in which over 23,000 children under five and pregnant women with newborns received family kits. A total of 3,200 pregnant women received long lasting insecticide treated nets to prevent malaria while 25,000 children under five were treated with oral rehydration salts to manage diarrhoea. Over 1,600 children with acute respiratory tract infection received paediatric treatment. Twelve measles campaigns were conducted in response to the displacement caused by conflict and floods and sporadic outbreaks resulting in nearly 268,000 children under five being vaccinated against measles.

Funding requirements

In line with the revised inter-agency Strategic Response Plan for Afghanistan, UNICEF’s appeal for Afghanistan remains at US$50.9 million. In order to continue to address the growing humanitarian needs of children and women in Afghanistan, funds are urgently needed. Emergency funds are therefore 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 UNHCR Monthly IDP update, May 2015.
2 Children and Armed Conflict, Report of the Secretary General for 2014 A/69/926–S/2015/409.
3 The Afghanistan National Nutrition Survey.
4 Afghanistan Strategic Response Plan 2015.
5 Afghanistan Strategic Response Plan 2015.