The Global Humanitarian Assistance Report for 2017 stated that Afghanistan has 8.9 million people in need of international humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan is important because it is a country with multiple crises, including internal and international conflict and violence, refugees who still remain in neighboring countries and natural disasters such as floods, droughts, avalanches and sandstorms.
Afghanistan ranked in the top 10 countries in need of humanitarian aid from 1999 until 2015, when it dropped to 13th. In 2016, there were roughly 1.6 million people displaced within Afghanistan. Crises are prevalent in the country and the effects are apparent among the citizens. Children face some of the toughest obstacles in survival, and the government struggles to provide the basic needs of clean water, electricity, safe roads and education.
With the increased need for humanitarian aid, the U.N. Secretary-General’s report at the World Humanitarian Summit called for an adjustment of financing to the countries most in need. Financing tools are being re-evaluated to fit the crises and breaking away from the old short-term grant-based funding. This change acknowledges that natural disasters require different financing than conflicts, such as climate financing, risk reduction and risk transfer. Conflict financing is still limited, but the World Bank, the U.N. Development Programme and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development are looking to broaden the financing scope to enable better aid to countries in need.
Several foundations are also working to downsize this crisis impact within Afghanistan. Save the Children is an organization giving children access to literacy programs, building strong curriculums and training teachers for both preschool age and secondary school children. Further advances have been made in efforts to employ parents of children to work on projects to better develop the community with local reservoirs, agriculture canals and other drought-related projects.
The European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department was founded in 1994 in order to provide aid for the strictly humanitarian principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality. This aid continues for conflict and disaster-ridden communities, providing emergency medical, food, clean water, shelter, protection, sanitation and hygiene. This organization is providing for the basic needs and working to restore access to education to children in the process.
In 2017, the Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department planned to allocate €25.5 million, but because of the growing displacements of citizens, it grew to €30.5 million. A main priority is support for refugees to return from Pakistan and Iran.
The humanitarian aid to Afghanistan continues with the International Rescue Committee, which started in 1988 in response to the Soviet Union’s invasion. This organization continued providing aid throughout the rule of the Taliban and now works with thousands of villages, employing many Afghans in the IRC staff. This organization teaches communities to take action in their own projects for development, provides learning spaces in rural locations, provides tents, water, sanitation and basic needs to those displaced and works to find employment for people. These efforts are crucial to enable progress in Afghanistan.
Much aid is needed within Afghanistan due to crises stemming from multiple sources, but international humanitarian aid to Afghanistan is being addressed. Countries, smaller foundations and organizations along with individuals are seeking to make an impact in the nation.
– Bronti DeRoche