Surveys by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) show that there are some 6.3 million people in Afghanistan in need of humanitarian assistance in 2019. 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.
UNOCHA estimates that around 900,000 people in Afghanistan will be affected by internal displacement in 2019. Between January and October 2018 alone, around 551,000 people, of whom more than half are 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 is on the rise due to economic problems in the country. From January until October 2018 there were 670,000 returnees from Iran – a higher figure than the whole of the previous year. UNOCHA predicts that returnees from Iran and Pakistan will number around 575,000 and 40,000 respectively in 2019. 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, waste water disposal and healthcare. 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), hundreds of square kilometres of land have become contaminated with mines and other explosives as a result of armed conflict in recent years. Improvised landmines and booby traps present a particular problem, with the latter being deployed deliberately against the returning population and occurring frequently in private dwellings and on agricultural land. 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 our work in the area of humanitarian assistance, please see the ‘Stories’ section and the project descriptions.