Surveys by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) show that there are some 18,4 million people in Afghanistan in need of humanitarian assistance in 2021. The causes of this precarious situation include armed conflict and recurring natural disasters, such as last year’s dramatic drought crisis. These factors result in large-scale displacement within Afghanistan, to its neighbouring countries Iran and Pakistan, and beyond and are further compounded by the secondary effects of the COVID-19-pandemic.
UNOCHA estimates that around 450,000 people in Afghanistan will be affected by internal displacement in 2021. In the previous year, around 327,000 people, more than half of them children, were displaced within the country. The provision of basic services and supplies to internally displaced persons is often significantly worse than among the local population, and in some cases results in conflicts between the host communities and displaced persons.
At the same time, refugees returning from other countries also need support. The number of people returning from Iran and Pakistan is on the rise due to economic problems in the country. From January until December 2020 there were 824.000 returnees from Iran and Pakistan – a much higher figure than the whole of the previous year. UNOCHA predicts that returnees from Iran and Pakistan will number around 714.000 in 2021. These individuals often have no means of securing their livelihood or that of their families and rely on humanitarian assistance.
The German government is therefore providing targeted support to internally displaced persons and returnees through humanitarian assistance measures that focus on food, drinking water supply, protection and basic health services. Germany is also involved in disaster risk management that aims to reduce the impact of recurring humanitarian disasters.
In addition, Afghanistan is among the most mine-affected countries in the world. According to the country’s Directorate of Mine Action Coordination (DMAC), the area contaminated with mines and other explosives as a result of armed conflict in recent years in still increasing. Improvised landmines and booby traps present a particular problem. The German government therefore supports landmine and weapon clearance projects and projects that provide care to victims of landmines and booby traps.
For further information about a selection of our work in the area of humanitarian assistance, please see the project descriptions.