The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is today appealing for more than USD 589 million to respond to the urgent humanitarian and protection needs of over 3.6 million crisis-affected persons and to strengthen the resilience and recovery of communities both in Afghanistan and in six neighbouring countries.
IOM’s revised Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries builds on its expertise in responding to migration and displacement crises and strengthening integrated approaches to migration management, governance and sustainable development, as well as on its operational presence in Afghanistan and in all neighbouring countries.
“The ongoing crisis in Afghanistan is intensifying humanitarian needs and increasing displacement risks both inside the country, as well as across borders to countries in the region,” said Ugochi Daniels, IOM Deputy Director General for Operations.
“Nearly six months after the August 2021 political upheaval and resulting political transition, more than half of the Afghan population are now in need of humanitarian assistance, which is 30 per cent more than last year. This means Afghanistan faces a real risk of systemic collapse and humanitarian catastrophe, as nearly all Afghans have now plunged into poverty.”
As projected when IOM’s CAP for Afghanistan and neighbouring countries was initially launched in September 2021, the political, social and economic shocks in Afghanistan have reverberated across the country and the region.
As a result, more than 700,000 Afghans were driven into displacement in 2021, adding to around 5.5 million people already in protracted displacement by mid-August 2021. Afghans, and in particular women and girls, are facing increasing vulnerabilities and protection risks.
In addition, a trend of increased cross-border mobility dynamics has been observed in the past year. Given the risk of further deterioration of the socio-economic and security situation in Afghanistan, internal displacement and cross-border movements, mainly to Iran and Pakistan, are likely to continue in the coming months.
The sheer level of internal displacement, coupled with increasing population movements across the region, as well as the higher than usual rates of cross-border returns observed in the past few months, have required IOM to further strengthen its regional approach to the crisis and, alongside international partners, to review the scope of the response and related funding requirements for the coming years.
In fact, as needs are growing, a failure to sustain and improve access to essential services and restore livelihoods, alongside the need to effectively address the vulnerabilities of populations affected by the crisis, will only increase displacement trends and population outflows within and across borders.
Without this latest comprehensive regional* response which applies a mobility lens to combine rapid humanitarian action with mid-to longer-term development planning, DDG Daniels said economic and social conditions in Afghanistan will continue to spiral downwards and risk further wiping out development gains made over the past 20 years.
In the months following events in August 2021, IOM has continued to deliver live-saving humanitarian and protection assistance to Afghan populations in need and provided early recovery and livelihood support to communities through area-based programming.
In addition, IOM has also scaled up its operational capacities both in-country and in the region to enhance the regional understanding and response to the crisis. A total of approximately 600,000 individuals were reached with IOM assistance in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries between August and December 2021. Among these, more than 260,000 vulnerable Afghan returnees were provided with multi-sectoral assistance at key border crossings and IOM reception and transit centres.
As the second-largest provider of emergency shelter and non-food items in Afghanistan, IOM has been able to distribute more than 196,000 winterization assistance to help displaced Afghan populations withstand the harsh weather conditions.
IOM’s health operations, active in 12 out of 34 provinces in Afghanistan, continue to provide healthcare – including COVID-19 vaccination efforts – to some of the hardest-to-reach populations, who in some cases had received no assistance in the decades before the arrival of IOM’s teams.
“Through our flagship Displacement Tracking Matrix, we are operational in all 34 provinces of the country and can now systematically monitor internal as well as cross-border population movements,” said Stuart Simpson, IOM Chief of Mission in Afghanistan.
Simpson said that IOM has adapted its data collection methods to ensure that information can be collected safely and has expanded its capacity throughout the region. Additionally, IOM has been working on developing a comprehensive analysis of movements throughout the region and has now started disseminating its information products with pertinent stakeholders to contribute to a better understanding of regional mobility dynamics and a more informed response.
Regional mobility dynamics will continue to guide IOM’s work in Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries and will enable strengthened collaboration with government institutions in the region and local communities to address drivers of migration and displacement, mitigate the mid-term impact of the crisis on societies, and support recovery and resilience for longer-term sustainable development.
Download the action plan here.
* Targeted countries: Afghanistan, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis and displacement in 2022 and beyond. The Platform is regularly updated as crises evolve, and new situations emerge.