EU scales up humanitarian support to Afghanistan as drought takes hold

By agency reporter
October 5, 2018

The European Commission has allocated an additional €20 million in emergency aid to Afghanistan as the humanitarian situation has worsened since the beginning of 2018, due in part a severe drought affecting large parts of the country. This brings total EU humanitarian aid for Afghanistan to €47 million in 2018.

"The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan shows little sign of improvement. Conflict has intensified since the beginning of the year and a severe drought is taking hold. 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", said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.

The EU humanitarian assistance will support communities affected by the drought, civilian war casualties, and displaced populations. Thanks to this funding, humanitarian organisations will address the most pressing needs on the ground, ranging from emergency shelter to food assistance, water and sanitation, protection, and health care. Part of the assistance will be channelled through the EU funded Emergency Response Mechanism, which ensures emergency assistance to vulnerable displaced communities.

Afghanistan is one of the most violent crisis-ridden countries in the world. The worst-hit communities are those that have been displaced or have lost access to basic services due to the conflict which has worsened since the beginning of 2018.

Additionally, several years of low rainfall, combined with low levels of snow-fall last winter, have led to a drought in 20 provinces, where nearly 15 million people rely on agriculture. In some of the hardest-hit districts of the country's Western Region, agriculture and livestock production is 50-60 per cent lower than in 2017. An estimated two million people are affected by the drought, with 1.4 million in immediate need of food assistance. Chronic underdevelopment and ongoing violence compound the effects of the drought, which is depleting household assets and significantly increasing displacement within the country. The European Commission has funded humanitarian operations in Afghanistan since 1994, providing in excess of €794 million to date.

* European Commission https://ec.europa.eu/commission/index_en

[Ekk/6]

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