Afghanistan Situation

Afghanistan remains one of the most complex humanitarian situations in the world.

Some 3.2 million people are internally displaced by conflict, as well as over 7 million refugees & asylum-seekers from Afghanistan in neighbouring countries. 

Footage: © UNHCR

Following more than 40 years of conflict, natural disasters, chronic poverty and food insecurity with an economy in free-fall amid rising global good and energy costs and a collapsing healthcare system, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has reached unprecedented levels. Please help us reach displaced families with urgent aid in Afghanistan. 


Stoves and fuel

to cook meals, generate heat and dry wet clothing 


Emergency shelter

to protect a family from the harsh elements 




Emergency payments

to help families access food and medicine

What is the situation in Afghanistan?

The last four decades have brought waves of conflict and instability to Afghanistan, but many have never experienced anything as deeply worrying as the present humanitarian crisis. The economy has collapsed, and prices have skyrocketed. Some regions have been hit by drought, others by flooding and the recent earthquakes. Hunger is widespread and many areas are on the verge of famine. 

Years of violence alongside a collapsing healthcare system, increasing encroachment on human rights and economic crisis, have created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

The impact of these crises is compounded by inadequate housing, a lack of insulated shelters, warm clothes, insufficient fuel for heating, and insufficient amounts of food.

Many fled with very few belongings and are struggling to survive in appalling conditions, living in flimsy shelters. 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.  

Afghanistan continues to be a challenging access environment for humanitarian aid, but the persistent work of UNHCR teams and partners enables aid to be delivered to even the most hard-to-reach areas.  

With a shrinking economy, limited livelihood opportunities and restrictive approaches to women and girls’ access to basic rights and services, reliance on humanitarian support will continue to increase.  

Is aid reaching the people who need it?

Yes. As well as emergency shelter, families have been provided with essentials like cooking sets, blankets and hygiene supplies. In the first few months of 2023, UNHCR provided aid in the form of cash assistance, in-kind assistance, core relief items, solar panels, assistance with emergency shelter, and more. These supplies have helped people to survive, but the worsening economic situation means lives remain in the balance.

Then in October 2023, two 6.3 magnitude earthquakes struck Afghanistan’s Herat province, followed by several powerful aftershocks. The tremors flattened homes, destroyed villages and killed over 1000 people whilst injuring over 1700 more.

In response, UNHCR has distributed emergency shelter, food assistance and core relief items such as solar lamps and hygiene kits for those who have lost everything.

What is winter in Afghanistan like?

Monthly temperatures can reach as low as -15 in Afghanistan. Poverty in Afghanistan is endemic – families are extremely vulnerable to sudden shocks of cold winter weather and people can die within a day without adequate protection from the elements.

Most internally displaced families have fled without adequate clothing and reside in makeshift shelters that are extremely vulnerable to rain, snow and freezing temperatures. Displaced families on the brink are often exposed to harsh cold and snow in high altitude cities as well as remote villages, and many have lost everything in a devastating earthquake 

What help is needed during winter in Afghanistan?

Financial support will help winter-proof houses and shelters, maintain cash assistance during the cold months when it is most crucially needed, and provide basic winter emergency items such as blankets, thermoses, shelter kits for waterproofing, solar lanterns and other necessities to help some of the most vulnerable families through the harsh winter months.

Where have displaced Afghans fled to?

Some Afghan civilians are being forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in other parts of the country, whilst many more Afghans have left the country in search of refuge. Over 3.2 million people are currently displaced within Afghanistan, whilst over 5.2 million people fled Afghanistan.

Outside Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan have generously hosted Afghan refugees for several years and granted them access to health and education systems. Iran currently hosts 3.4 million people from Afghanistan, whilst Pakistan hosts 1.78 million individuals from Afghanistan. Smaller numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers are also hosted in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.

UNHCR welcomes these governments’ continued commitment to hosting asylum-seekers.

Where can I access the latest data and reports?

Afghanistan Situation Portalfor 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 Operationsfor the latest on UNHCR’s relief work to protect displaced people inside Afghanistan.

Did you know more than 65 percent of Afghanistan’s 35 million people are young people?

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