As winter takes hold, displaced Afghans will endure freezing, sub-zero temperatures without a home. The majority are women and children. We can’t look away from Afghanistan this winter.
With dwindling supplies of food amid plummeting temperatures, every day is a struggle to survive.
Footage: © UNHCR
Following more than 40 years of conflict, natural disasters, chronic poverty, food insecurity and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has reached unprecedented levels. Please help us reach displaced families with urgent aid this winter in Afghanistan.
Stoves and fuel
to cook meals, generate heat and dry wet clothing
to protect a family from the harsh elements
Emergency cash assistance
to help families access food and medicine
What is the situation in Afghanistan?
The people of Afghanistan have lived with conflict for more than four decades. Entire generations have never known peace and millions remain displaced.
Renewed violence and instability, alongside severe drought and economic crisis, have created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. There are currently upwards of 2.2 million refugees and asylum-seekers from Afghanistan, in addition to the 3.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Afghanistan as of 1st December 2021.
Many fled with little belongings and are struggling to survive in appalling conditions, sheltering in flimsy shelters as bitter winter conditions bear down.
24.4 million people – 55 per cent of the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2022, a staggering 30 per cent increase in one year. Many are facing acute hunger.
UNHCR is on the ground and doing everything possible to deliver relief, but urgently needs public support to help it reach families in desperate need.
How is aid getting into the country?
By road and by air. Throughout the crisis, UNHCR has continued to get humanitarian supplies into the country through the Pakistan border. When needs increased after August, UNHCR opened a new road route in the north from Uzbekistan. In November, the first airlift arrived in Kabul. This primarily consisted of Tent Insulation Kits to help families survive winter – we need to get many more in to help the most vulnerable families.
Is aid reaching the people who need it?
Yes. Since the start of the year, thanks to the help of supporters, UNHCR has provided humanitarian assistance to around 477,000 newly displaced people. As well as emergency shelter, families have been provided with essentials like cooking sets, blankets and hygiene supplies. These supplies have helped people to survive, but the deteriorating weather and worsening economic situation means lives remain in the balance.
Is the new government confiscating UNHCR humanitarian supplies?
No. UNHCR aid shipments are reaching their intended recipients. Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, visited Kabul in September. After talks with the interim government he said: “I welcomed their commitments to provide security and enable humanitarian access throughout the country. They recognized the needs and thanked the UN for providing help to Afghans.”
What is UNHCR doing to help women and girls?
UNHCR has advocated strongly for the protection of the rights of all Afghan women and minorities, and to ensure female staff can continue to work safely. As long as it’s possible to do so, UNHCR will stay and deliver in Afghanistan and continue to support women, children and men, as it has done for over 40 years.
Where have displaced Afghans fled to?
Most displacement in 2021 has been internal – Afghan civilians are being forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in other parts of the country.
Outside Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan have for several years hosted more than 2.2 million registered Afghan refugees in total. Both countries have generously hosted Afghan refugees and granted them access to health and education systems.
UNHCR welcomes these governments’ continued commitments to hosting asylum-seekers amidst the added health and socio-economic challenges of COVID-19.
Where can I access the latest data and reports?
Afghanistan Situation Portal – for the latest updates on the situation overall, including UNHCR situation reports, funding requirements and UNHCR’s support for neighbouring countries taking in refugees from Afghanistan.
Afghanistan Operations – for the latest on UNHCR’s relief work to protect displaced people inside Afghanistan.
Did you know temperatures in Afghanistan are expected to drop to -25⁰C this winter?
Learn more about what’s happening in Afghanistan
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UNHCR’s Representative in Afghanistan, Caroline Van Buren, describes the current situation in the country and how our staff and partners are helping displaced people.