Avalanches struck villages in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan, Nuristan, and Parwan provinces during March, resulting in approximately 60 deaths and affecting hundreds of people. USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) responded to the avalanches through implementing partners, who provided emergency relief supplies, conducted rapid needs assessments, and aided the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) in coordinating response efforts.
Although localized floods are common in Afghanistan in spring, above-average snowfall during the 2011/2012 winter season has increased the risk of extensive flooding as temperatures warm from April to June. To prepare for potential flooding, USAID/OFDA is coordinating with implementing partners to formulate a floods response strategy for the international humanitarian community and is continuing to pre-position relief commodities in strategic locations throughout Afghanistan that can be distributed rapidly if flooding occurs.
In February, conflict displaced nearly 24,500 people in Afghanistan—approximately 18,000 more displaced people compared to January—while nearly 43,000 formerly displaced persons resettled in Afghanistan during the month, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Also during February, natural hazards displaced nearly 7,900 people and affected an additional approximately 13,500 people, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Since early February, USAID/OFDA has provided nearly $7.8 million for economic recovery and market systems (ERMS), logistics and relief commodities, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) activities in Afghanistan. In addition, USAID/OFDA provided $1.2 million to the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) to continue providing emergency health and nutrition services to people, particularly children, affected by natural disasters and conflict.
In early March, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) approved the contribution of 16,000 metric tons (MT) of Title II emergency food assistance for the U.N. World Food Program’s (WFP) Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation in Afghanistan, originally launched in April 2010. USAID/FFP’s contribution, valued at nearly $20 million, will enable WFP to continue providing food assistance to people adversely affected by the ongoing winter conditions, as well as other humanitarian emergencies.
To date in FY 2012, the U.S. Government (USG) has provided nearly $74 million in humanitarian funding to support Afghans affected by conflict and natural disasters. Of the total, USAID/OFDA has contributed more than $19 million to support humanitarian activities in Afghanistan. In addition, USAID/FFP has provided nearly $48 million in emergency food assistance, including more than $40 million to WFP, to provide approximately 31,270 MT of Title II 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.