The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Over half of Afghanistan’s population urgently needs humanitarian support

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has ranked Afghanistan as one of the countries most likely to experience a worsening humanitarian crisis in 2024 as some 23.7 million people just over half of the population urgently need humanitarian support. The crisis in Afghanistan largely stems from the unraveling of the country’s economy. Climate shocks, including recent flooding and earthquakes, exacerbate challenges. The organization has considered flooding, economic pressures, climate shocks, deportation of Afghans from neighboring countries and challenges in delivering humanitarian aid to needy communities as reasons why Afghanistan has been ranked as one of the countries most likely to experience a worsening humanitarian crisis during the current year. According to IRC, between April 10th and 16th, Afghanistan experienced heavy rains and flash floods across 32 of its 34 provinces, killing over 100 people. Nearly 1,000 homes and over 60,000 acres of agricultural land have been destroyed, alongside critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges and electricity supplies which could hinder the delivery of humanitarian aid. It says any additional flooding will have a detrimental impact on large swathes of the population which are already reeling from an economic collapse, high levels of malnutrition and conflict. The International Rescue Committee in its report pointed to economic pressures as another reason that has led the country to a humanitarian crisis. The organization has said, Afghanistan’s economy has collapsed as the country has been under international sanctions in the past two and half years, saying that the country finds itself economically isolated, losing development funding that previously subsidized an estimated 75 percent of Afghanistan’s spending on public services. Meanwhile, the organization says the funds of the Afghan central bank remain frozen and inaccessible as sanctions and international restrictions limit foreign financial inflows. Although Afghanistan’s economy stabilized slightly in 2022, it saw negligible growth in 2023. Nearly half of the population lives in poverty and will continue to experience economic hardship. Moreover, funding for Afghanistan’s 2023 humanitarian response plan was lower than in 2022, undermining humanitarian action in the country, according to IRC. The organization further said that climate shocks have been another reason for the increasing humanitarian crisis in the country. According to the IRC, three years of successive drought and the harshest winter in 15 years have exacerbated Afghanistan’s hunger crisis at a time when international support is falling. Though an estimated 15.3 million people – 35% of the population—continue to suffer from crisis or worse (IPC 3+) levels of food insecurity, funding shortfalls forced the World Food Program (WFP) to cut food assistance for some 10 million people in 2023. The organization also said that declining groundwater levels and increased desertification were also diminishing crop yields, leading to reduced food availability in a country that is highly dependent on agricultural production. Simultaneously, the El Niño phenomenon will likely bring wetterthan-normal conditions in 2024, which could lead to an increased risk of floods—particularly in the north and northeast—further affecting crop production and food supplies, according to the IRC. Pakistan’s government announced the expulsion of more than half a million Afghan refugees, who have already been forced to return to Afghanistan. Thousands more are expected to be deported throughout 2024—especially if Pakistan’s government expands expulsion orders to include the 2.2 million documented Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Iran’s government is also considering expelling Afghans that it deems are living in the country illegally. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of Afghans to the country’s border regions would greatly exacerbate regional needs at a time when there is little capacity to provide support. There are also some other reasons that has caused Afghanistan top to experience a worsening humanitarian crisis this year. It is worth mentioning that the IRC first began working in Afghanistan in 1988 and has since expanded to deliver services in thousands of villages across 12 provinces. Since August 2021, the IRC has significantly improved Afghanistan’s healthcare landscape by enhancing the capacity of nine static health facilities and establishing 35 mobile health teams. Mashal Noori

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.