Afghanistan

Afghanistan 2014 Strategic Response Plan: Mid-Year Review (January to June 2014)

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OVERVIEW

Key achievements toward Strategic Objectives

Through a combination of essential humanitarian response interventions at least two million people have been reached with humanitarian aid in the form of health, WASH, shelter or food assistance. In addition to responding to those communities known to be particularly vulnerable due to on-going conflict and interruption of critical basic service, emergency relief assistance was also provided to over 120,000 people following a month of heavy rains in April and May, which killed an estimated 175 people and destroyed over 8,000 homes. Due to effective prepositioning of emergency stocks, humanitarian actors were able to respond swiftly to the new emergency needs.

Strategic objective 1: Emergency health care and critical services are restored, or provided where there is limited access to them. 16 out of 20 planned new first aid posts were established, to treat civilian casualties of the conflict. Primary health care and referral services were provided to cover the needs of 482,000 people, of a planned 800,000, in areas where conflict has impeded coverage. 23 partners responded to high rates of malnutrition through 77 inpatient facilities, 374 severe acute malnutrition outpatient treatment sites and 564 moderate acute treatment sites.

Strategic objective 2: Essential services are provided to the conflict-affected. 1 million of a planned 1.7 million people received emergency food security assistance. Over 200,000 people of a planned 660,000 target gained access to safe drinking water.
Emergency WASH assistance to displaced people and refugees was provided to 127,000 of a planned 220,000. Over 19,000 of a planned 27,000 people benefited from mine clearance.

Strategic objective 3: Prevent protection violations. 16 reports on protection issues or human rights violations were published. Mine action achieved considerable success in dealing with abandoned firing ranges and post-battle Early Remnants of War (ERWS) and cleared 19 firing ranges. A comprehensive campaign on mine risk education, and increased advocacy and engagement on victim assistance began.
Gender Based Violence (GBV) training sessions for law enforcement officials and medical personnel were conducted. Progress was made on the establishment of field-based protection and human rights alert systems.

Strategic objective 4: Critical life-saving services are provided to natural disaster-affected. Emergency shelter and NFI kits were distributed to over 85,000 people affected by natural disasters. A further 11,000 people received emergency cash grants and temporary shelter solutions. The emergency shelter and NFI Cluster reached 37per cent of affected people targeted for the year. 230,000 of a planned 850,000 natural disaster affected people received recovery assistance from food security organisations.

Challenges

As of June 2014, the clusters reported a total of 128 unique actors delivering humanitarian aid across Afghanistan, vis-a-vis the 214 actors reported in November 2013, due to increased insecurity and funding shortfalls. The reduced number of active agencies has impacted on the amount and coverage of humanitarian aid that was provided, with those areas that most need it being worst affected. This situation is particularly seen in the south and south-east of the country.

For those agencies providing humanitarian services, access remained challenging. Fighting in a number of districts in Hilmand forced the postponement in June, of routine vaccination services. Response to the cross-border displaced from Pakistan in Khost and Paktika was especially challenging due to the very few agencies and NGOs present, particularly in Paktika due to insecurity and remoteness of the area. Some districts where homes were destroyed by the spring floods are also inaccessible to the majority of humanitarian agencies due to inhospitable terrain and challenging logistics.

At the end of this reporting period, a refugee influx from Pakistan, following military action in North Waziristan resulted in huge displacement of Pakistanis as well as some Afghan families, with some 22,000 families (approx. 165,000 people) seeking refuge in the remote and inhospitable Khost and Paktika provinces in eastern Afghanistan. An inter-sectoral emergency response has started to assist some 120,000 most vulnerable individuals.
As experienced during the wide scale flooding and resulting multiple actor response earlier this year, the lack of standardised humanitarian needs assessments remained a major challenge for identifying and prioritising humanitarian response interventions. Even outside of the flooding emergency context, few humanitarian needs assessments took place since the beginning of the year that were nationally comparable. There is an explicit need for cluster members to work together to harmonise these fundamental humanitarian assessment tools.

The new Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) launched in January enabled more funding to be directed to immediate life-saving activities of health and nutrition. However, in practice NGOs have only started to receive funds at the midyear point due to the delays in start up of the fund.

Recommendations

  1. The response to the refugee influx in Khost and Paktika provinces requires a sustained response, principally by Multi-Sector, WASH, Health and Protection clusters. Available resources with the CHAP 2014 requirements of $ 406 million are to be reprioritised to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable of this refugee caseload. At this stage the financial requirements to enable anticipated response activities will be in the region of $25 million. Donors are requested to contact UNHCR and OCHA for further information regarding funding priorities.

  2. More funds are required to build shelters for those who lost their houses in the spring floods. So far the funds committed by donors cover only 15 per cent of the 6,579 Category A homes that were completely destroyed. Taking into account all possible efficiency measures and capacity of partners, and potential funding, some 2,500 families will likely be without any form of shelter come winter unless more funding is forth coming.

  3. The CHF is a vital tool in improving the relevance and coherence of humanitarian response by strategically funding assessed humanitarian action as identified in the CHAP. Additional contributions in the second half of 2014 will enable greater support to be directed to the most essential, prioritised life-saving needs and respond to the most critical gaps identified through the coordinated cluster system.

  4. An increase in the capacity of humanitarian service delivery is needed in areas most affected by acute needs, particularly in the south and south-east.

  5. Clusters need to work to identify humanitarian thresholds for intervention, and to design or adapt assessment tools to be used by all members, to enable collection of humanitarian needs data that is nationally comparable.

  6. Donor support to partners will be required to replenish emergency stocks which have been extensively depleted in responding to the spring floods in April and May 2014.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.