In Afghanistan, where decades of war have left a fragile health system, developing economy and vulnerable population, the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in Afghanistan threaten to push it to the brink. Amidst a fragile peace process and escalating conflict, Covid-19 has created new risks and humanitarian needs across the country and severely exacerbated existing vulnerabilities - most notably for internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and host communities.
Almost the entire population of Afghanistan needs a social safety net with an estimated 14 million people in acute humanitarian need. The economic impacts of Covid-19 in Afghanistan, resulting from a national lockdown and other accompanying public health measures, severely disrupted trade and commerce and limited access for the most vulnerable to humanitarian assistance and services. The knock-on effect of the global economic crash has compounded these impacts and now threatens the very future of an already fragile economy.
For displacement-affected communities, already at high risk for the rapid spread of Covid-19, the shocks of the pandemic more than six months into the crisis have left families and communities struggling to cope. The loss of livelihoods and a dire food security and nutrition situation has left people to use up their savings and take on debt, cut meals and medical expenses, and risk being evicted from their homes. The pandemic and subsequent loss of families’ livelihoods has further disrupted children’s access to education, already limited amidst an ongoing conflict. While the world struggles to cope, the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to ripple through Afghanistan and will require concerted and coordinated support from the international community.
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