As of January 23, severe cold temperatures and avalanches associated with heavy snowfall had resulted in 43 deaths in Badakhshan Province in northeastern Afghanistan, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The situation in the most affected districts of Badakhshan was improving as of late January, with an increased number of passable roads and improved access to the provincial capital of Fayzabad. As of early February, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were assisting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) with clearing roads and delivering emergency relief supplies to residents of more than 30 villages in Badakhshan’s most affected areas.
In January, severe cold temperatures resulted in the deaths of 22 children living in two informal settlements in Kabul Province, according to international media sources. In response, OCHA provided funding through its Central Emergency Response Fund to the Danish Refugee Council for heating interventions and established a task force to address humanitarian needs of the estimated 30,000 people living in 46 informal settlements in Kabul. OCHA is leading assessments of the situation but has not issued an urgent request for international assistance to date. In addition, USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) partner the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has pre-positioned emergency winter supplies for up to 500 families in Kabul’s informal settlements, with additional supplies available if needed.
In January, USAID/OFDA provided nearly $7.5 million to IOM to deliver emergency relief supplies to populations affected or displaced by conflict and natural disasters in Afghanistan in 2012. The funding expands IOM’s presence in remote areas and increases IOM’s coordination capacity within the humanitarian cluster system—a mechanism to improve collaboration between the host government, U.N., relief agencies, and donors during disasters.
In January, USAID/OFDA, through non-governmental organization Tearfund, initiated a nearly $400,000 program to provide temporary employment for members of approximately 1,700 food-insecure households in Jowzjan Province, northern Afghanistan. Income earned through the program will enable participating households to purchase food during the lean season before Afghanistan’s 2012 spring harvest.
The U.N. has released the 2012 Consolidated Appeal (CAP) for Afghanistan, requesting approximately 35 percent less funding for humanitarian assistance than the 2011 CAP. Of the 11 sectors for which funding is requested in the 2012 CAP, multi-sector activities, food security, and agriculture compose more than 56 percent of the funding request. Nutrition represents the next highest request at nearly 12 percent.
In FY 2012, the U.S. Government (USG) has provided more than $44 million in humanitarian funding to support Afghans affected by conflict and natural disasters. Of the total, USAID/OFDA provided nearly $10 million to support humanitarian activities in Afghanistan. In addition, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) has provided $27.3 million in emergency food assistance, including $20 million to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) for the purchase of nearly 15,300 metric tons (MT) of food commodities. In FY 2012, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM) has provided approximately $7 million for humanitarian assistance, livelihoods support, gender-based violence prevention, and protection interventions for Afghans, including refugees who have returned to Afghanistan and Afghan refugees residing in Iran and Pakistan.