Afghanistan is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and an increasing risk of economic collapse. Forty years of armed conflict, recurrent natural disasters – including droughts and floods, increased poverty, food insecurity, failing health systems, and lack of shelters, compounded by COVID-19 – have made most of the people in Afghanistan vulnerable to extreme protection risks.
Events after August 2021, in addition to the global economic impact of COVID-19, have severely affected the coping mechanisms of vulnerable population groups in the country, particularly internally displaced people. The prices of main food commodities in Afghanistan are significantly higher than in the first half of the year. An average food basket now costs more than 82 per cent of the average family income. It is anticipated that 95 per cent of Afghans are now facing food insecurity. Some 23 million people, over half of Afghanistan’ s population, are facing acute food insecurity.
UNHCR has put in place a Preparedness and Response Plan to meet needs in this fast-evolving context to: (i) provide critical protection and life-saving assistance and prevent human suffering; (ii) ensure life-saving assistance by improving access to essential services and by creating a conducive protection environment to mitigate further displacement; and (iii) support building resilient communities through area-based programming, in so-called Priority Areas of Return and Reintegration (PARR), in line with the whole-of-society approach.
UNHCR Afghanistan’s population of concern includes 3.7 million persons including refugees, refugee returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and members of the host communities.
Against the backdrop, UNHCR has been working to complement and support the de facto authorities in addressing the needs of IDPs through its coordinator role in the Afghanistan Protection and ES/NFI Clusters as well as the provider of last resort. In particular, during emergency phases, UNHCR conducts joint needs assessments with other humanitarian actors and coordinates its responses. In addition, UNHCR is one of the key actors conducting Community-Based Protection Monitoring (CBPM) to assess the protection needs and concern of the IDPs and other POCs. In addition, for IDPs identified as most vulnerable, UNHCR provides assistance through its Persons with Specific Needs Programme (PSN) and Cash for Protection Programme (CFP). Under the “Whole of Community Approach” and to realize the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus, UNHCR also concentrates its effort to support durable solutions for IDPs, primarily in the Priority Areas of Return and Reintegration (PARRs). In the PARRs, IDPs benefits from a range of services and projects, including, among others, education, health, shelter, youth empowerment, livelihood opportunities, WASH, and infrastructure.