Timely contributions from Denmark, Finland, and Norway enable UNHCR to continue providing life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Afghans.
As winter looms, UNHCR distributes cash and aid to displaced in Kabul. © UNHCR/Tony Aseh
With the situation in Afghanistan escalating dramatically, more people have been forced to flee their homes and are now finding themselves in dire need of protection and support.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is on the ground in Afghanistan and is scaling up the response, which is made possible with strong contributions from Denmark, Finland and Norway. On 15 October, UNCHR sent an airlift with supplies to Afghanistan via Uzbekistan – and more airlifts, directly to Kabul, are planned for. The supplies include emergency aid that will allow the forcibly displaced to prepare for the approaching cold winter.
In Afghanistan, around 18 million people – roughly half of the population – require humanitarian assistance, according to figures from OCHA. A total of more than 3.5 million Afghans have been internally displaced – and this year alone, more than 665,000 people have been forced to flee across the country as a result of the conflict and unstable situation. Women and children account for more than 80% of those displaced. Due to damaged houses, lack of livelihood opportunities, and the general instability, the majority of displaced persons have not been able to return home. People are in urgent need of food, tents to provide shelter, and health care including psychological counselling.
The Nordic countries are already amongst the top donors to UNHCR – and the high level of flexible and unearmarked funding enables UNHCR to respond to acute emergencies and underfunded crises across the world. With these additional and considerable contributions for the Afghanistan situation. Denmark, Finland and Norway are ensuring that UNHCR can strengthen the emergency response to the soaring needs.
“The contributions from Denmark, Finland and Norway are vital and timely, as they help UNHCR to increase our immediate response for the quickly developing and deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. This will make a world of difference to many families, who are struggling right now,” says Henrik M. Nordentoft, UNHCR’s Representative to the Nordic and Baltic Countries.
More than 445,000 internally displaced Afghans have so far this year been supplied with humanitarian support by UNHCR. The aid includes blankets, kitchen sets, and sleeping mats. In addition, 120,000 people have received hygiene kits and sanitary kits have reached over 45,000 women and girls. UNHCR has also supported many families through cash assistance and facilitated psychological support for those in need.
Another key focus for UNHCR is to ensure that children and youth, including girls, can continue to go to school. There are plans to establish several schools, including special schools for girls, by the end of the year, which will benefit around 65,000 students.
UNHCR is also involved in the health sector, where new health clinics are being constructed, planned to benefit over 300,00 people. In order to increase livelihood opportunities, UNHCR has introduced technical and vocational trainings that help develop relevant skills for more than 2,200 displaced people.
In 2021, Denmark has contributed a total of USD 12.7 million to support UNHCR’s operation in Afghanistan and the response to Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries – 4.7 USD was contributed as additional funding, responding to UNHCR’s emergency appeal in August.
Denmark is among UNHCR’s top ten donors. In 2020, Denmark’s total contribution to UNHCR was USD 96.6 million. USD 34.6 million of the funding was flexible, allowing UNHCR to respond rapidly to emergencies and underfunded crises.
In 2021, Finland has provided an additional contribution of USD 3.5 million to UNHCR for the emergency Afghanistan Appeal, supporting the situation within the country and in neighbouring countries.
Finland is a significant and strategic partner for UNHCR. In 2020, Finland’s total contribution to UNHCR was USD 27.4 million. USD 7.7 million of the funding was flexible, allowing UNHCR to respond efficiently to emergencies and underfunded crises.
In 2021, Norway has contributed a total of USD 4.1 million to support UNHCR’s operation in Afghanistan and the response to Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries – USD 2.8 was contributed as additional funding, responding to UNHCR’s emergency appeal in August.
Norway is a long-standing strong partner to UNHCR, and is the largest donor seen per capita. In 2020, Norway’s total contribution to UNHCR was USD 79.2 million. USD 41.4 million of the funding was flexible, allowing UNHCR to respond efficiently to emergencies and underfunded crises.