• Afghanistan 2013: a bleak humanitarian outlook

Afghanistan 2013: a bleak humanitarian outlook

07 January 2013

The United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator, OCHA, is predicting a bleak year for Afghanistan, with further violence and a worsening humanitarian situation.

The agency’s Common Humanitarian Action Plan for 2013 says humanitarian programmes have been fairly well funded over the past decade because of the unprecedented amount of aid flowing into the country.

However, it warns, “This is rapidly ending with international military withdrawal, a globally tougher funding climate and donor fatigue with Afghanistan. “

The report points out that humanitarian funding dropped by around half in 2012, at a time when humanitarian needs are on the increase. 

The UN says the number of civilian casualties and displaced people is continuing to rise as the armed conflict spreads to most provinces of the country.  

More than half a million Afghans are now internally displaced. A further quarter of a million are affected by natural disasters each year.  And, the report adds, Afghanistan has some of the worst humanitarian problems in the world.  Around 34 percent of the population are food insecure, 10 percent of children die before they start primary school and many Afghans still do not have access to basic services.

Meanwhile, a  reduction in international assistance and the pullout of most international forces “is expected to translate into significant economic contraction and job losses, directly impacting livelihoods and increasing humanitarian needs in the run-up to, and beyond, 2014”.

The UN is appealing for  $471 million to help the most vulnerable Afghans during 2013.  It says it has drawn up a list of priorities, ranking provinces according to greatest need.  The neediest provinces are Kandahar, Ghazni, Helmand, Khost and Kunar "reflecting the high prevalence of conflict-induced needs in the south and south-east regions".