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Afghanistan Crisis: Highest Emergency Level in Place


Afghanistan Crisis: Highest Emergency Level in Place

8 January 2022 Also available in:

Operational in nearly two thirds of the country’s districts in Afghanistan and with access to all 34 provinces, UNHCR has raised its internal emergency declaration for Afghanistan to Level 3 – our highest level, signalling the need to urgently scale up our response.

Shelter and Core Relief Items

Since the start of the year, UNHCR has been providing life-saving support to more than half a million of new IDPs across the country. From September onwards, we have been distributing more relief items and reaching more provinces ahead of the severe winter season. We have also expanded on the material supply corridors, establishing a new northern one via Termez, Uzbekistan, on top of the southern Parkistan route, to support displaced Afghans in Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asian countries.

Emergency Assistance Provided in 2021 (as of 15 October)



Cash Assistance

Young Fahim receives cash assistance from UNHCR for his displaced family in Kabul in place of his sick mother.

We are prioritising the most vulnerable people for cash assistance, who include displaced women and children particularly at risk of falling into negative coping actions, such as selling personal belongings to buy food, or refraining from sending children to school. Given the level of insecurity, we are reinforcing extra control and monitoring mechanism to ensure the aid reaches those who need it.


Besides continuing with identifying and responding to the most pressing protection needs on the ground, and calling on countries to keep their borders open, we have launched the Afghanistan HELP website to provide information to those seeking support and counselling inside Afghanistan, especially to vulnerable groups such as orphaned children, LGBTQI people, and children separated from their parents amidst evacuations.


Education, Health and Livelihoods

As part of our community-based development programmes, construction is ongoing to establish 19 schools, youth learning centres and a women’s cafe, as well as nine health clinics, with mental health and psychosocial services, to support sustainable reintegration of refugees and internally displaced people.


A UNHCR airlift carrying 33 tons of humanitarian assistance for displaced Afghans is unloaded in Kabul. Watch a video on the airlifts:

Humanitarian needs are rising rapidly in Afghanistan ahead of winter, when temperatures can dip to -25⁰C. In early November, the first two of three UNHCR emergency airlifts landed in Kabul transporting 33 tons of life-saving tent winterization kits as we were scaling our winter response. Weighing 25kg, each kit contains flooring, partitions, and other items to improve tent insulation against the cold. The kits also provide heat resistant protection to enable the installation of a stove.



The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on 14 December 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee issues. It strives to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to voluntarily return home when conditions are conducive for return, integrate locally or resettle to a third country. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1954 for its ground-breaking work in helping the refugees of Europe, and in 1981 for its worldwide assistance to refugees.