Afghanistan

Afghanistan: COVID-19 Multi-Sectoral Response Operational Situation Report, 13 May 2020

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Highlights

• Confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 5,226 people across all 34 provinces. 130 people have died and 652 recovered.

• Since the start of the crisis, partners have delivered WASH assistance and hygiene promotion activities to more than 624,000 people and supported more than 4,559 children with home-based learning materials to ensure the continuity of education during the pandemic.

• Protection partners in Kabul, Nangarhar, Hirat and Mazar-eSharif report an increase in child protection issues, such as child labour and early child marriage, as families resort to negative coping strategies to meet needs exacerbated by extended lockdowns.

• Humanitarians have condemned the recent attack on Sad Bistar Hospital in Kabul and call for an immediate end to the targeting of health facilities, health staff and civilians seeking care. In a statement, the Humanitarian Coordinator said “It beggars belief that such a heinous act could be committed when Afghanistan is being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Civilians receiving care in hospitals, health workers, medical infrastructure and aid workers are protected under International Humanitarian Law; violations must be investigated and those behind the attacks brought to justice.”

SITUATION OVERVIEW

MoPH data shows that 5,226 people across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan have tested positive for COVID-19. Some 652 people have recovered, and 130 people have died. Of the 130 people who have died from COVID-19, 111 had at least one underlying disease, the most common of which are cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, lung disease and neurological diseases. The majority of fatalities were between the ages of 40 and 69. Men between the ages of 40 and 69 represent more than 50 per cent of all COVID-19-related deaths. Cases are expected to increase rapidly over the weeks ahead as community transmission escalates, creating grave implications for Afghanistan’s economy and people’s wellbeing. Kabul is the most affected part of the country, followed by Hirat, Kandahar and Balkh.

A number of provinces have instituted measures to limit the exposure of residents to COVID-19. Throughout the country, these ‘measured lockdowns’ have resulted in closures of sections of each city and/or movement limitations. Reports indicate that despite assurances by the Government that these would not limit critical program movements of NGOs and the UN, the measures continue to impact on the mobility of humanitarian organisations. Humanitarian partners remain active in responding to crises throughout the country and continue to urge the Government to employ a national approach to these movement issues so that individual negotiations are not required on a case-by-case basis.

Between 8 and 9 May, protests took place in Chaghcharan district in Ghor province, Sharana district in Paktika province, and in Shinwar and Rodat districts in Nangahar province. Citizens were protesting over an alleged irregularities in bread distributions organised by the authorities.

Humanitarians remain concerned about the impact of extended lockdown measures on the most-vulnerable, particularly families who rely on casual daily labour and lack alternative income sources. According to WFP’s market monitoring, the prices of wheat flour (low price) has increased by 19 per cent between 14 March and 11 May, while the cost of pulses, sugar, cooking oil and rice (low quality) increased by 13 per cent, 8 per cent, 19 per cent, and 6 per cent, respectively, over the same period. FSAC partners have also noted that the purchasing power of casual labourers and pastoralists has significantly deteriorated by 16 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively, mainly due to the wheat price increase (compared to 14th March).

While implementing activities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, humanitarians continue to respond to other ongoing and emerging humanitarian needs. Conflict and natural disasters across the country continue to displace thousands of families, compounding pre-existing vulnerabilities and making them potentially more susceptible to serious consequences from COVID-19. During this week’s reporting period, partners have responded to the needs of 600 families affected by flooding with emergency NFI assistance. IDPs recently assessed by ES-NFI partners report difficulties in accessing medical facilities, medication and medical supplies as the price of medicines and other medical items (e.g. gloves, hand sanitisers and masks) have increased because of the crisis. IDP communities also raised the need for food assistance and hygiene kits as a priority. Protection partners also continue to monitor and respond to ongoing needs; 254 children without parental care were reunified with their families and provided with psychosocial support and temporary shelter. 653 women and girls were provided with dignity and sanitary packages in Bamyan and Balkh provinces. 1,209 children (694 boys and 515 girls) received case management, psychosocial and referral support, and 1,100 individuals received hygiene materials in the central region. 12 GBV cases were identified and referred to Family Protection Centres (FPCs) in Nimroz and Uruzgan provinces. As part of its regular programming, WFP has continued to respond to ongoing food needs, distributing food to more than 225,000 food insecure people over the past week.

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