Afghanistan: Earthquake Appeal No.10/02 Operations Update No. 4

Originally published


Appeal No. 10/02: An emergency appeal was launched on 12 April 2002 for CHF 2,921,000 for 9 Months. Responding to the evolving reconstruction situation, revision no 1 was issued on 31 January 2003, and the budget revised downwards to CHF 2,235,984 and the operation extended to July 2003. The operational budget has been revised to CHF 2,454,839 taking into account the challenges of the lengthy recovery and rehabilitation efforts, and the operation has been extended through December 2003.
Operations Update No. 4, covers the period 1 February 2003 - 30 June 2003; The last operations update was issued on 31 January 2003.

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In Brief

Appeal coverage: Covered

Outstanding needs: None

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: 01.52/2003 Afghanistan

Operational Summary: The Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) with support of the Federation continues its commitment to the reconstruction programme in Nahrin, which was hit by a devastating earthquake on 25 March, 2002. Having been among the first to respond to the emergency phase, the ARCS maintained its engagement with the vulnerable people, shifting its attention gradually to replace destroyed health and education facilities for Nahrin to the benefit of thousands of children and adults in the earthquake affected area.

Two out of five constructions sites were very difficult to access due to the long cold winter and flooding, thus construction could not resume until the end of April 2003. The ARCS adjusted its work timetable to ensure that the needs of the affected communities are being met. These changes are reflected in the attached revised operational budget. The operation been extended for a further six months and operations are scheduled for completion by 31 December 2003.

Operational developments

A strong earthquake measuring 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. Nahrin District is 74 km (2.5 hours) from Pul-i-Khumri, which is the main city of the Province, and 264 km (5.5 hours) from Mazar-i-Sharif. The district has a population of approximately 80,000 families, and is made up of approximately 90 villages. The largest, and most affected by the earthquake, were Nahrin New and Old City (5 km apart), and the village of Jilga.

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 continues to provide much-needed health services through a Field Health Clinic and a Mobile Health Team. In addition, the overall capacity building of the National Society is being enhanced, especially in the areas of disaster preparedness and response.

Due to operational constraints described in Operations Update no.3, the long cold winter and flooding in the area, delayed planned construction activities. Two out of five constructions sites were very difficult to access, thus construction could not resume until the end of April 2003. The ARCS adjusted its 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 therefore been extended for a further six months and the operations will be completed by 31 December 2003.


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

From January to the end of May 2003, the ARCS temporary clinic saw a total of 5,669 patients for consultation and treatment (an average 12% being children under the age of 5 years and 35% women over 15 years). Main health problems attended to included; respiratory tract infections during winter months and skin infections, which are expected due to poor living conditions. Health education was offered to all on various topics, including nutrition, diahorrea prevention and mine awareness. The clinic will continue to provide much needed health services until new premises are constructed.

The new 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 has donated 1,200 sq metres of land to ARCS for the construction. The project contract has been signed by ARCS at the end of May 2003 and excavation work is in progress. The job is expected to be completed in five months time.

From January until the end of May 2003 the mobile clinic operating out of Pul-i-Khumri in the Nahrin area, saw 5,126 patients for consultation and treatment and offered health education. Health messages concentrated on hygiene and sanitation issues as well as respiratory tract infection, diarrhoea, birth spacing, worm infections, mine awareness and the history of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Major health problems seen were diarrhoeal diseases and respiratory tract infections.


After prolonged negotiation with the local authority, lands were allocated free of cost for the construction of five schools in the following areas: Almatuo, Gawi, Joi Kalan, Abserni Balaqi and Tolihaa.

The construction of five schools in the earthquake-affected Nahrin experienced delays mainly due to the harsh winter as the sites are in remote mountainous areas, and the time-consuming negotiations with the construction company over additional charges presented to the delegation. In one instance, the company demanded additional 8,800 USD for the supplementary materials apparently used by the company to construct the foundations of the schools, which were not provided for in the original bill of quantity. The subsequent assessment of the construction site by the Federation has revealed that indeed the company had to use additional materials as the site for the schools had changed from what was originally planned due to interference of the local authorities in the area.

In another instance, the company claimed additional funds for the transportation of the materials to the construction sites, although according to the contract, the company should have covered all transportation costs including possible increase in the cost. Poor quality of bricks around Nahrin was cited as the main reason and had to be sourced from Pul-i-Khumri.

The construction work of the schools in Nahrin area resumed in the fourth week of April following an agreement with the contractor on payment of extra transportation cost of the construction materials. It is recalled that the construction was held in abeyance because of extreme cold weather and the Contractor's subsequent demand for sanction of additional amount for transportation of materials. A compromise was made to avoid further delays. These operational constraints and budgetary implications are reflected in the attached revised budget.

At the time of reporting, 45 per cent of the works were on target on all sites. The main construction (walls and roofs) is in progress and is expected to be completed in September 2003. All rehabilitated schools will be provided with school furniture, a well and a latrine. The procurement of furniture has been arranged by the Federation delegation's logistics department and the ARCS Planning Department. The Federation Watsan team has also completed a water assessment within the schools.

Disaster Preparedness (DP)

The repositioning of DP stocks according to regional needs have now been finalised. Relief materials distributed by ARCS during the emergency phase have largely been replenished and stored at the ARCS warehouse. Within the framework of this DP operation, 10,000 blankets and 1,000 rolls of plastic sheeting have been procured. Plastic sheeting has been delivered to ARCS warehouse in Northern region and blankets are expected to be in country within the coming two-three weeks. This will significantly strengthen ARCS disaster preparedness capacity and ensure rapid and effective response to future similar calamities.

The ARCS disaster management capacity of branches in disaster prone areas will be strengthened by technical assistance, namely, providing them with computers and printers that will support the ARCS branches to improve reporting, stock recording, data collection and analysis.


The Federation delegation is arranging a specific telecom network for the ARCS branch in Pul-i-Khumri. Radio equipment has been already received and after installation, the relevant staff will be trained in its utilisation and maintenance of the equipment. At present, there is no working telecommunication system in the area except for a basic telephone system linking official buildings. The network will enable the ARCS to receive timely information about disasters and better coordinate response activities. The ARCS branch in Pul-i-Khumri will be a part of wider communication network supported by the Federation which will impact positively on ARCS disaster management capacity building.

National Society Capacity Building

The process of establishing a proper volunteer base in the earthquake affected area has continued. Some 100 volunteers trained in community based first aid in Nahrin continue to cover 148 villages. All have been equipped with first aid kits. The volunteers transmit health education messages to their own villages and take action against preventable diseases, exacerbated by the results of the earthquake. ARCS, supported by Federation, have 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 the vulnerable communities increases.


The Federation/ARCS are part of the overall humanitarian actors' 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. The Federation/ARCS regularly attends coordination meetings in Kabul and sub-delegations with ministry of public health, education 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 school furniture, water and sanitary facilities.

  • Continue ARCS capacity building initiatives, strengthening its disaster preparedness and response capabilities, in disaster prone areas.
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 assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

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