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EU scales up humanitarian support to Afghanistan as worst drought in decades looms large

Afghanistan by ICRC
A severe drought in Afghanistan is affecting an estimated 2 million people, with 1.4 million people in immediate need of food assistance. © ICRC

Large parts of Afghanistan are facing severe drought, worsening an already dire humanitarian situation. In response, the European Commission has committed an additional €20 million in emergency aid, bringing the total EU humanitarian aid for Afghanistan to €47 million in 2018.

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 and low levels of snowfall 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 percent lower than in 2017. An estimated 2 million people are affected by the drought, with 1.4 million in immediate need of food assistance.

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

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