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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Afghanistan - World Humanitarian Day

19 Aug 2021


Displaced families in Nahr-e-Shahi village, Mazari Sharif, northern Afghanistan (2019). © OCHA/Charlotte Cans

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 19 August 2021


The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly.  

Since January 2021, more than 550,000 people have been newly internally displaced and 735,000 people have returned to the country from Iran, Pakistan and other countries and are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. 

Humanitarian needs are expected to deteriorate further in the second half of the year due to drought. Some 12.2 million people are already acutely food insecure and the majority of those will be further affected by drought.

Below-average wheat harvest is expected and livestock yield is expected to be weak due to poor pastures and feed availability. Agricultural labour activities are estimated to have reduced by 28 per cent due to the conflict and drought, adding to this vulnerability. 

According to modelling, severe acute malnutrition increased by 16 per cent and moderate acute malnutrition increased by 11 per cent, impacting 900,000 and 3.1 million children, respectively.

Prices for food commodities continue to be at elevated levels. Further temporary inflationary effects with conflict-related movement restrictions have affected the prices of staples. Wheat, rice, sugar and cooking oil have increased by more than 50 per cent compared with pre-COVID-19 prices, with monthly increases in 2021 of between 1 and 4 per cent. 

The Humanitarian Response Plan is just 37 per cent funded, with more than half the year over. 

Funding for emergency shelter and relief items is particularly urgent due to the surge in displacement, but only 4 per cent of the funds required have been received.


World Humanitarian Day

Today is World Humanitarian Day.  

As you know, 19 August was chosen as World Humanitarian Day because on that day in 2003, 22 UN staff were murdered in Baghdad in a terrorist attack on the UN headquarters at the Canal Hotel. 

Today, we mourn them and honour our brave colleagues who survived. We also pay tribute to aid workers around the world and commit to protect them and the vital work they do.

This year’s campaign for World Humanitarian Day focuses on the climate crisis, which threatens the homes, livelihoods and lives of some of the world’s poorest people.  

In his message, the Secretary-General said that humanitarian workers are here to help the world’s most vulnerable people when disaster strikes. He calls on the international community to join him in signing up to #TheHumanRace, where your daily exercise will help send a message to global leaders that climate action should leave no one behind.

Around the world, aid workers face growing threats. In the past 20 years, shootings, kidnappings and other attacks on humanitarian organizations have increased tenfold. This year alone, at least 72 humanitarian workers have been killed in conflict zones.

OCHA invites you to look at the website and on social media, where you can get more information on the campaign.