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World can end ‘downward humanitarian spiral’ of Afghanistan


As the world focuses its attention on the war in Ukraine, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is often forgotten. More than 24.4 million people in Afghanistan require humanitarian assistance to survive, including nine million in a state of emergency food insecurity – the highest number in the world.

The UN is appealing for $4.4 billion to fund its humanitarian response in Afghanistan in 2022, three times the amount requested in 2021. This is a stark reminder of the scale of the crisis and the urgent need for action.

The crisis in Afghanistan is having a particularly devastating impact on women and girls. Girls' education has been severely disrupted, and women are facing increasing restrictions on their participation in public life.

What is causing the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan?

The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is the result of a number of factors, including:

  • Years of conflict: Afghanistan has been at war for over 40 years. This has led to widespread destruction of infrastructure, loss of life and livelihoods, and displacement of millions of people.

  • Recurring drought: Afghanistan is a dry country, and drought is a recurring problem. The drought of 2021-2022 was the worst in decades, and it has had a devastating impact on agriculture and food security.

  • Economic collapse: The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 led to the collapse of the economy. The Afghan currency has lost half of its value, and unemployment is skyrocketing.

  • Frozen banking system: The US and other countries have frozen Afghanistan's assets overseas. This has made it difficult for the Taliban government to access funds and provide basic services.

  • Liquidity shortage: The lack of liquidity is a major obstacle to economic recovery. Businesses are struggling to operate, and people are finding it difficult to access cash.

How is the UN responding to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan?

The UN is working with humanitarian partners to provide life-saving assistance to the people of Afghanistan. This includes:

  • Food aid: The UN is providing food assistance to millions of people in Afghanistan. This includes wheat, rice, pulses, and cooking oil.

  • Clean water: The UN is providing clean water to millions of people in Afghanistan. This includes water purification tablets, water tanks, and water pumps.

  • Healthcare: The UN is providing healthcare to millions of people in Afghanistan. This includes vaccinations, treatment for common diseases, and emergency care.

  • Shelter: The UN is providing shelter to millions of people in Afghanistan. This includes tents, blankets, and other essential items.

  • Education: The UN is working to keep schools open and provide education to children in Afghanistan.

The UN is also working to support the Afghan economy and to promote human rights. This includes:

  • Economic recovery: The UN is working to support the Afghan economy and to create jobs.

  • Human rights: The UN is working to promote human rights, including the rights of women and girls.

What can be done to help?

There are a number of things that individuals and organizations can do to help the people of Afghanistan:

  • Donate to humanitarian organizations: There are many humanitarian organizations working in Afghanistan. You can donate to these organizations to help provide life-saving assistance.

  • Contact your elected officials: You can contact your elected officials and urge them to support the people of Afghanistan.

  • Raise awareness of the crisis: You can raise awareness of the crisis in Afghanistan by talking to your friends and family, and by sharing information on social media.


The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is a tragedy. The international community must act now to save lives and livelihoods. By providing generous and flexible funding to humanitarian organizations and working to address the root causes of the crisis, we can help the people of Afghanistan to build a better future.

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