Afghanistan presents large-scale humanitarian needs prompted by displacement and a severe food crisis. This results from decades of conflict, recurrent natural hazards, and a sharp economic decline due to recent political developments.
Despite the challenges posed by the withdrawal of international troops and the Taliban takeover, the EU continues to provide life-saving assistance in Afghanistan.
EU humanitarian aid focuses on food security, health care, nutritional support, rapid response to natural hazards, and education and protection assistance, among other areas.
What are the needs?
Afghanistan’s already dire humanitarian situation is compounded by (i) the COVID-19 pandemic, (ii) consecutive droughts, (iii) natural hazards, (iv) persisting political insecurities, (v) economic downfall, and (v) continued violence.
In 2023, 28 million people will need humanitarian assistance, out of which 13 million are children.
Close to 20 million people – 45% of the Afghan population – suffer from hunger, and nearly 6 million survive on less than 1 meal per day.
More than5.7 million Afghans and host communities in 5 neighbouring countries are currently in need of support. Many of them have no means to earn a living.
Meanwhile, estimates indicate that close to 6.5 million Afghans still live as refugees in neighbouring Iran and Pakistan – many without registration or legal status.
Over 1 million people returned in 2021. The situation strained the capacity of existing services and caused concerns about reintegration and difficult living conditions.
How are we helping?
The EU has funded humanitarian operations in Afghanistan since 1994, providing over € 1.5 billion in humanitarian funding.
Given the intensity of the conflict and the scale of humanitarian needs, the EU’s priority is to provide life-saving assistance.
In 2022, the EU allocated more than €174 million in humanitarian support to aid organisations operating in Afghanistan and the region. This comes on top of €222 million in humanitarian funding in 2021.
EU humanitarian aid in Afghanistan is exclusively channelled through our humanitarian partners on the ground. The funding strictly adheres to the humanitarian principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality to ensure it reaches Afghans most in need.
The 2022 funding aims to ensure the provision of critical relief assistance to the most vulnerable, including the victims of natural hazards.
Interventions focus on:
- emergency food assistance and security
- health care
- education in emergencies
- access to clean water and sanitation facilities
- protection services, including de-mining activities, targeting women and children.
A devastating 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck Eastern Afghanistan in June 2022. In response, the EU allocated €1 million to humanitarian partners to provide urgent food assistance and shelter to the most affected and disadvantaged communities.
In 2022, EU humanitarian funding also addressed the food insecurity and health emergencies related to the 2021 spring drought, conflict, and COVID-19.
To facilitate the delivery of life-saving aid, the EU has transported close to 1,040 tonnes of relief items in 28 Humanitarian Air Bridge cargo flights since August 2021. The most recent flight with 98 tonnes arrived in Kabul on 29 March. At least 2 more flights are planned.
The EU also supports a particular nutrition response considering the more than 3 million children under 5 suffering from malnutrition in Afghanistan. In 2022, 1.1 million acutely malnourished children under the age of 5 years needed treatment.
In addition, the EU funding assists in the provision of security information to non-governmental organisations and the coordination of humanitarian interventions, and logistical support to partners.
Despite of the ban for women to work with NGOs (24 December 2022) and UN agencies (4 April 2023), the donors and humanitarian organisations continue to deliver principled assistance to the most vulnerable people in Afghanistan.
Last updated: 13/04/2023
Facts & figures
More than 5.7 million Afghans and host communities in 5 neighbouring countries in need of support.
28 million people expected to need humanitarian assistance in 2023.
1.1 million children under 5 years old are acutely malnourished and need medical treatment
More than 6.5 million Afghans live in Iran and Pakistan.
EU humanitarian aid funding:
Over €174 million in 2022
Over €222 million in 2021
Close to €1.5 billion since 1994