More than half of Afghans face acute food crisis


In its latest Afghanistan situation report, OCHA estimates that 55 percent of the population is in crisis or food insecure.

By Vatican News reporter

As isolated clashes and violence continue to rage in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, the United Nations says nearly 23 million people, or 55 percent of the population, are believed to be in crisis or food insecure. here March next year. .

Humanitarian aid situation

In its latest situation report released on November 3, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) expresses concern over “conditional humanitarianism” or attempts to “leverage” humanitarian aid for political ends . Donors also call for transactions and other activities necessary for humanitarian operations to be excluded from the scope of sanctions, in order to allow these activities to continue unimpeded.

The flash appeal for Afghanistan, which targets 11 million people with aid until the end of the year, calls for $ 606 million and is currently 54% funded, with a shortfall of some 276 million of dollars.

As of September 1, 2021, UN agencies and their partners have assisted 48,383 children through community education activities, supported 82,761 people with emergency shelter and non-food items (NFI), and provided aid food to 4.1 million people. About 580,050 people received primary health care and 85,623 children under five received treatment for acute malnutrition.

Four decades of misfortune

According to the Inter-Cluster Coordination Team (ICCT), which operates under the aegis of OCHA, 40 years of war, recurring natural disasters, chronic poverty, drought and the Covid-19 pandemic have devastated the Afghan people. The recent upheavals have only exacerbated the needs and further complicated an extremely difficult operating environment.

The situation report says that even before the events of August 15, when the Taliban took full control of Afghanistan, the humanitarian situation in the country was one of the worst in the world. By mid-year, nearly half of the population – some 18.4 million people – was already in need of humanitarian assistance and protection by 2021. Protection and security risks for civilians, in especially women, children and the disabled, were also setting records. Tops.

OCHA points out that the country is currently facing the second drought in four years and the worst of its kind in 27 years. The recently updated Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis shows that the food security situation has deteriorated further with worrying implications for the coming winter lean season.

It is estimated that 22.8 million people, or 55% of the population, are expected to be in a food crisis or emergency (IPC 3+) between November 2021 and March 2022. This is a close increase by 35% compared to the same last season. year (16.9 million). No province was included in CPI 1 and 2 during the projection period to March. Some 9 million people are expected to belong to the CPI 4 – the highest number in the world.

FAO, WFP: Alarming levels of food insecurity

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a set of analytical tools and processes for analyzing and classifying the severity of a food security situation in accordance with international scientific standards. The IPC scale classifies the severity of acute food insecurity into 5 phases: minimal (1), stressed (2), crisis (3), emergency (4) and famine (5).

The United Nations agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP) had previously sounded the alarm on the critical food security situation in Afghanistan. Their joint IPC report of October 25 estimated that more than one in two Afghans will face IPC levels of 3 or 4 of acute food insecurity during the lean season from November to March.

This is the highest number of acutely food insecure people on record by the UN in 10 years of IPC analyzes in Afghanistan, which the two agencies say require an urgent international response to avoid a humanitarian disaster. “We cannot wait and see humanitarian disasters unfold before us – this is unacceptable,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said.

“Afghanistan is now among the worst humanitarian crises in the world – if not the worst – and food security has all but collapsed,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said of the IFC report. “This winter,” he said, “millions of Afghans will be forced to choose between migration and starvation unless we can step up our life-saving aid and the economy can be revived” . “We are on a disaster countdown and if we don’t act now we will have total disaster on our hands,” Beasley said.

FAO has launched the autumn wheat seed and fertilizer distribution campaign in the east of the country. Technical training sessions on good agricultural practices are also planned. The agency plans to reach nearly 140,000 people in Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan provinces.

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