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Publication | 2021

Afghanistan: Acute Food Insecurity Situation September - October 2021 and Projection for November 2021 - March 2022

Afghanistan’s protracted food crisis has deepened and widened with a record high of nearly 19 million people experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity, classified in Crisis or Emergency (IPC Phases 3 or 4), between September and October 2021, due to a devastating combination of drought, conflict and economic collapse. Among these, about 6.8 million people, mainly located in the country’s northern half, are experiencing critical levels of acute food insecurity, classified in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

The food security situation is highly concerning by any measure. People are experiencing spiralling levels of acute food insecurity in both rural and urban Afghanistan and need urgent lifesaving support to prevent catastrophic levels of food insecurity, and livelihood assistance to help households recover.

Between November 2021 and March 2022 (the winter lean season), a further deterioration in food security is expected, with the number of people in IPC Phase 3 or above likely increasing to 22.8 million, a nearly 35% increase from the same season last year (16.9 million people). Out of 22.8 million people, 14 million will likely be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 8.7 million in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). The number of areas in Emergency is expected to significantly increase in the projection analysis period from 21 to 32 analytical domains. It is likely that household food access between the end of winter and the following spring season will further deteriorate due to the continuing La Niña climatic episode bringing below-average winter precipitation for the second consecutive year, the impact of high food prices, sanctions on the de facto authorities, growing unemployment and possibly increased displacement.

Reduced income, lower international and domestic remittances and continuing obstacles to humanitarian assistance (many related to the financial crisis and limited physical access during the winter period) are expected to contribute to the deterioration of food security. The estimated 55% population in IPC Phase 3 or above in the November 2021 – March 2022 projection period (lean season) is the highest ever recorded in the country. This record magnitude is preceded only by a 47% population classification in IPC Phase 3 or above in the November 2018 - February 2019 lean season.