What are the needs?
People in Afghanistan continue to suffer from over three decades of armed conflict and frequent natural disasters.
The partial withdrawal of the international forces in 2014 has led to a further deterioration in the security situation. Civilians bear the brunt of these heightened confrontations, and the situation can no longer be considered a 'stabilisation phase', but has rather reverted to an increasingly acute humanitarian crisis.
Devastated by the long-drawn conflict, inhabitants of affected provinces are reliant on humanitarian aid and need protection from violence. Basic services like food, medicines, health care, drinking water and shelter are also urgently required.
Many Afghan refugees, who have returned to Afghanistan since 2002, need to be supported. More people from Afghanistan are still living as refugees in neighbouring Iran and Pakistan.
The effects of floods, droughts, avalanches and sandstorms that occur with alarming frequency in Afghanistan are magnified by the government's limited mitigation capacity. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people affected by natural disasters require international humanitarian assistance.
How are we helping?
The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is one of the few humanitarian donors consistently supporting projects in Afghanistan since 1994. Funds are strictly allocated on the basis of the humanitarian principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality. In 2016, the Commission has made available €25.7 million to heed the basic needs of the Afghan population. The latest allocation brings the total aid funding for the country in the last decade to €720 million.
The Commission continues to provide humanitarian assistance to conflict and disaster-affected communities in Afghanistan, including support to refugees returning from Pakistan, and to a lesser degree from Iran. Projects funded by the EU are providing emergency medical care, food and water assistance, protection, shelter, sanitation and hygiene promotion to people affected by conflict and natural disasters in general and to the displaced in particular. With an aim to restore access to education of children whose opportunities have been taken away in the wake of the conflict, emergency education projects have also been introduced in targeted areas.
In addition, to strengthen the resilience of Afghans to recurrent natural hazards, the EU has provided over €885 000 for 2015-2016 to reduce the risks arising from natural disasters.