The European Union is boosting its humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in response to severe droughts affecting large parts of the country. The humanitarian situation in the country has worsened since the beginning of the year against the backdrop of severe droughts and intensified fighting. “The most vulnerable communities are hardest hit so the EU is stepping up support to help those most in need. Our new aid package aims to reach 400,000 people in need of assistance,” Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides commented.
The new tranche of funding brings total EU humanitarian aid for Afghanistan to €47 million in 2018. The newly announced package will target communities affected by the civilian war casualties, displaced populations, communities affected by drought and the most pressing needs on the ground, such as emergency shelter and food assistance, water, sanitation, protection and health care. The funding will be channeled through the EU-funded Emergency Response Mechanism, which will ensure emergency assistance to vulnerable displaced communities. Afghanistan has been battered by violent conflict for decades and its worst-hit communities are those affected by lost access of basic services or displacement.
On top of the conflict, 20 Afghani provinces were affected by low levels of snow-fall last winter – the areas in which almost 15 million people rely on agriculture. In some of the hardest-hit provinces, livestock and agriculture output is 50-60% lower than in 2017. It is estimated that 2 million people are affected by the drought out of which 1.4 million are in need of immediate food assistance. The conflict and the droughts are depleting household assets and make communities even more vulnerable to displacement. The European Commission has been active in Afghanistan since 1994, providing humanitarian assistance wort more than €794 million to date.