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Severe winter weather exacerbates the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan

Heavy snow and rain in Afghanistan further aggravate the suffering of the people in the affected areas. Meanwhile, humanitarian organizations race against time to deliver relief supplies. In December alone, 7 million people across the country received food aid. Winterization assistance is also provided in various parts of Afghanistan, including cash and materials such as tents and tarpaulins.

Forty years of war, recurring natural disasters, chronic poverty, drought and the COVID-19 pandemic have devastated Afghanistan. The recent escalation of the conflict and resulting unrest has only exacerbated needs and further complicated an extremely difficult operational context.

Even before the events of August 15, 2021, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was one of the worst in the world. By the middle of the year, almost half of the population – around 18.4 million people – needed humanitarian aid. One in three Afghans faced crises or food shortages, and about half of all children were at risk of malnutrition.

Afghanistan is now facing its second drought in four years. Unlike the last drought, which was limited to the western region, the current drought is affecting a third of the country. This will deplete the financial and wealth reserves of many people. Poor households are already catastrophically indebted. Many continue to rely on dangerous alternatives to survive, including child labour, early and forced marriage, and risky irregular migration.

The recent change in leadership in the country and the consequent impact on basic services, financial systems and markets have further worsened the situation for vulnerable people. Although all population groups across the country are being affected, the effects are being felt most directly on women and girls.

© WFP Afghanistan

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