Afghanistan: Humanitarian Response Update (1 February to 16 March 2017)

Overview Overall, a total of 100,800 conflict and natural disaster affected individuals, returnees and refugees were provided with life-saving humanitarian assistance, including cash, emergency shelter and non-food items, food rations, WASH, health and winterisation support, by 24 international humanitarian partners between 1 February to 16 March. During this period, the humanitarian community responded to a range of crises, from extreme weather events such as heavy snowfall, avalanches, landslides and localised flooding – which affected over two thirds of the country (22 out of 34 provinces) – to conflict induced displacement and cross-border population movement. Regions most affected included the North and North East, where 6,300 individuals have reportedly been displaced over the past two weeks following a rise in military clashes, and the East, where 11,000 people have fled from their homes in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces as a result of intense cross border shelling, and a devastating avalanche on 5 February in Nuristan province claimed 57 lives, destroyed 87 homes and left many more injured. International health partners proved timely in their ability to provide an efficient and effective response, reaching affected populations within 24 hours and saving multiple lives in the process. The international humanitarian community is now consistently responding to sudden onset emergencies with increased speed and efficiency. As an example, since OCHA assumed responsibility for IDP coordination in March 2016, response time in the Western region is reported to have been reduced for the provision of ES-NFIs and food assistance by as much as two months. In addition, preparedness efforts spearheaded by OCHA, the UN family of agencies and international partners ensured that sufficient humanitarian supplies and stocks were prepositioned in high-risk locations prior to the onset of the winter, ready for immediate deployment in the event of an emergency. This included 5,500MT of food assistance in 60 districts across eight provinces covering 188,000 people, pneumonia kits to 98 priority district hospitals in 24 provinces covering 144,000 cases, and a prepositioned stock of 20,000 NFI kits and over 3,100 emergency shelter kits.