Afghanistan: Earthquake Appeal No.10/02 operations update No. 03


Appeal launched on 12 April 2002 for CHF 2,921,000 for 9 Months. Budget revised to CHF 2,235,984 and operation extended until July 2003. Period covered: 1 November 2002 - 31 January 2003. Last operations update issued on 5 November 2002.
At a Glance

Appeal coverage: Covered
Outstanding needs: None
Related Appeals: 01.52/2003 Afghanistan

In summary: Thousands of children and adults are benefiting from the Afghan Red Crescent's reconstruction programme in Nahrin. Federation support - through a successful international appeal, subsequent international representation and coordination - has enabled a workable plan of action to be established. Winter has slowed work but progress is now being made to replace destroyed health and education facilities for the Nahrin population.

Operational Developments

A strong earthquake, 6.2 on the Richter scale, devastated much of Nahrin town, in Baghlan province, on 25 March 2002 in an isolated region of northeast Afghanistan. About 800 people were killed and 10,000 people were left homeless. In total up to 80,000 people were affected. The Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) supported by the Federation, continues to contribute to the lengthy recovery of basic living standards for the people of Nahrin. It is providing much-needed health services through the ARCS health clinic and mobile unit. In addition, the overall capacity building of the National Society is being enhanced, especially in the areas of disaster preparedness and response.

In light of the constraints encountered, (see operations update no 2) and early arrival of cold weather, which has hampered planned construction, the ARCS adjusted the Society's work timetable to ensure that the needs of the affected communities are being met. These changes are reflected in the attached budget. The operation has been extended for six months and the appeal will close on 10 July 2003.

This operations update reports on activities carried out between November 2002 - January 2003 in the context of the emergency appeal and a revised programme budget. No additional funding is required to accommodate the planned activities.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Action


A temporary emergency health clinic in Nahrin, staffed by a dedicated team of head doctor, male nurse, health educator and pharmacist, has continued providing services to the people of earthquake-devastated Nahrin. The team are on location in the temporary tented structure and are also on call for emergencies during night time..

From October to the end of December the ARCS temporary clinic saw a total of 4,618 patients for consultation and treatment. Health education, on a variety of topics, was given to 2,034 people in group sessions and to 443 people individually. Main health problems were respiratory tract infections, to be expected at this time of year. The clinic will continue to provide much needed health services until a new premises is constructed. Starting from January 2003 the clinic's running costs will be supported within the context of the Afghanistan Annual Appeal (no 01.52/2003).

In the meantime, efforts continue to integrate the temporary facility in the new ARCS clinic. The clinic plans include basic staff accommodation, important to attract staff to work in this rural area clinic. This is a creative attempt to overcome the most frequently encountered constraint to provide primary health care to population living in rural remote areas. This pilot attempts to determine whether or not providing accommodation is an appropriate way forward in the provision of health care in other isolated areas..

Tender will now be launched to identify a company that will carry our construction. It is likely, however, that work will not start before mid-March, because of the winter.

The clinic will be built in Lakan Kheil, Aab Khana section of Nahrin District, 13 km west of Nahrin New City and will serve 3,500 families. The road from Nahrin New City to Lakan Khail is poor and during the winter months is often only passable by horse or donkey. Lakan Kheil is one of the largest villages in Aab Khana section. The community had donated 1,200 sq metre of land to ARCS for the building of this clinic.

Meanwhile, the ARCS mobile health team, working out of Pul-i-Khumri, the nearest major town, has been visiting villages in Nahrin district since the earthquake. While most of the medical teams and field hospitals came and went, one ARCS mobile team remains working in the area addressing the most pressing needs.

The activities of the medical team centred on the treatment of disaster related illnesses, preventive health and education through outreach workers. From October until the end of December the mobile clinic saw 2,942 patients for consultation and treatment and offered health education to 5,575 people in group sessions and 231 individuals. The main focus for the health messages was on hygiene and sanitation issues as well as respiratory tract infection, diarrhoea, birth spacing, worm infections, mine awareness and history of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Major health problems seen were diarrhoeal diseases and respiratory tract infections.

Mobile unit will continue to play a vital part in reaching those Afghans without regular basic health care making an enormous impact in terms of covering those who are too far from the mainstream care structure. Health services were scarce in the Nahrin district even before the emergency.


Works are progressing on the reconstruction of five schools in the disaster affected areas. Table below shows the location of the schools and the number of children that will benefit from this project.

School location
Distance from district centre (km)
Number of school children
Joi Kalan
Abserni Baraqi

The disputes with the landowners of the school site at Tolihaa, reported on in the previous operations update, have now been resolved. The Federation, however, had to sever its contract with one of the companies, that had been selected to carry out the reconstruction of the schools in Tolihaa and Almatuo, as the company proved unable to meet the contractual timetable. Tender was relaunched and the contract granted to the company working on the three other sites in Gawi, Joi Kalan and Abserni. This has, unfortunately, further delayed the operation.

At the time of reporting, 20 per cent of the works on all target sites had been completed. The construction materials had been delivered to the sites and foundations have been laid down. According to the designs developed, two of the target schools will have eight classrooms, while the other three will have six. The works, however, have now slowed due to the winter as the sites are in remote mountainous areas. The main construction -roof and plastering of walls - will restart in February or March 2003. All rehabilitated schools will be provided with furniture, a well and latrines. The latter is included in the works for the contracted construction. Procurement will be arranged by the Federation delegation's logistics department locally. As a result of the Federation/ARCS intervention, 2,380 children in the target areas will continue their education in the new schools.

In Afghanistan, the school year, which has ended in late November due to arrival of cold season, restarts in March. The reconstruction is expected to finish in May, the latest, if the weather permits. In the meantime, children will attend their lessons in a temporary tent set up in the villages.

Disaster Preparedness (DP)

The repositioning of DP stocks according to regional needs has now been finalised. Preparation continues to replenish the distributed relief materials to the ARCS warehouse - the Federation DP department together with the Afghan Red Crescent DP/Relief Department established quantities and items to be replenished. Namely, within the framework of this operation, 10,000 blankets and 1,000 rolls of plastic sheeting will be procured, planned for in February 2003. This will significantly strengthen ARCS disaster preparedness capacity and ensure rapid and effective response to future similar calamities.

Planning and implementation of disaster preparedness training including teaching on newly acquired emergency equipment was partly done by the Japanese Red Cross team during their mission in Nahrin. Training of ARCS staff in disaster preparedness, however, will continue during the following months.


The Federation delegation is arranging for the procurement of a specific telecom network for the ARCS Branch in Pul-i-Khumri. After the installation of the equipment, relevant staff will be trained in its utilisation and maintenance as currently there is no working telecommunications systems, except a basic telephone system linking official building. The network will enable the ARCS to receive information about disasters timely and better coordinate response activities.

National Society Capacity Building

The process of establishing a proper volunteering base in the earthquake affected area has continued. By the end of December 2002, there were 100 volunteers trained on community based first aid in Nahrin, covering 148 villages. This means the whole district is now covered. These volunteers, chosen by their communities, were trained over five courses since June 2002. All have been equipped with First Aid kits.

The volunteers now pass health education messages to their own villages and take action against preventable diseases, exacerbated by the results of the earthquake. ARCS, supported by Federation, has over 12,000 volunteers trained in community based first aid across the country. As the organisation's pool of committed and multi-skilled volunteers grows, the Red Crescent's ability to support its vulnerable communities increases.


The Federation/ARCS are part of overall humanitarian efforts to recover and rehabilitate the area devastated by the earthquake, while maintaining independence and neutrality. On construction, the Federation/ARCS hold regular consultations with government authorities and other agencies in the disaster-affected area, particularly Swedish Committee, which is also involved in construction of schools in Nahrin. Several other humanitarian actors are involved in the rehabilitation of destroyed houses in the disaster affected villages. WFP continues their general food distribution in the area. Delegates regularly attend coordination meetings in Kabul and sub-delegations with ministry of public health and other government bodies, WHO, UNICEF, UNAMA and other UN agencies as well as NGOs involved in health and relief activities.

Remaining challenges:

  • Construct a new ARCS clinic in Lakan Kheil;

  • Finalise the construction of five target schools in the earthquake affected area and supply the schools with basic furniture;

  • Continue ARCS capacity building initiatives, strengthening its disaster preparedness and response capabilities in disaster prone areas, and

  • Replenish the distributed relief materials to the ARCS warehouse.

For further details please contact:

President/Secretary General Afghan Red Crescent Alhaj Qrabig Izdyar, ph 873 682 33059

Head of Federation delegation Kabul Ali Hassan Quoreshi Ph 93 70 278 372, fax 873 382 280534, email: Afghanistan desk officer Andrée Houle, Phone : 41 22 730 4316; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email:

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

This operation seeks to administer to the immediate requirements of the victims of this disaster. Subsequent operations to promote sustainable development or longer-term capacity building will require additional support, and these programmes are outlined on the Federation's website.

For further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at

John Horekens
External Relations

Simon Missiri
Asia Pacific Department

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