Afghanistan: Facts and figures for January-March 2014

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28-04-2014 Facts and Figures
A round-up of activities carried out by the ICRC in Afghanistan during January to March 2014.

Visiting detainees and maintaining family contact

The ICRC visits detainees in Afghanistan and other countries around the world to monitor the conditions in which they are held and the treatment they receive. ICRC delegates regularly visit prisons run by the Afghan authorities, by nations contributing to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and by US forces. The ICRC also helps family members separated by conflict to stay in touch with one another, and endeavours to trace missing persons.

From January to March 2014, the ICRC:

  • carried out 25 visits in 19 places of detention holding 18,314 detainees; followed up individually on 634 - persons arrested in connection with the conflict, of whom 196 were visited for the first time;
  • provided assistance to three released detainees enabling them to travel home, including the repatriation of one foreign national;
  • with the support of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, collected 585 Red Cross messages and distributed nearly 1,170, mostly between detainees and their families;
  • enabled families of detainees in the Afghan and US detention facilities in Parwan to make 1,040 phone calls to their detained relatives, and organized more than 850 visits between relatives and detainees in Bagram; provided transport to and from the detention facility for the families;
  • received 50 queries from families about arrested relatives and 18 requests from abroad to trace family members, of which 48 cases were resolved positively;
  • facilitated the transfer of the remains of more than 100 fighters and civilians killed in conflict to their next-of-kin; the unidentified remains of a further eight people were given a dignified burial according to Islamic custom.

Providing health care

The 444-bed ICRC-supported Mirwais Regional Hospital in Kandahar province provides treatment and care to the wounded and the sick in the four southern provinces of Afghanistan. The ICRC supplies drugs, medical equipment and consumables to the hospital and provides diagnostic and critical services such as surgery, obstetrics and paediatrics in line with the Ministry of Public Health "essential package of hospital services." The 150-bed Sheberghan Hospital also receives regular support from the ICRC, which provides it with pharmaceuticals and medical consumables and also with hospital forms and other stationery, cleaning supplies, fuel, oxygen and medical equipment. The ICRC also helps maintain and repair equipment and conducts quarterly assessments of the laboratory facilities. In addition, the ICRC provides medical and other supplies every month for a small health centre in the east of the country.

From January to March in 2014:

  • Mirwais Hospital and Sheberghan Hospital admitted more than 14,930 patients in their surgical, medical, obstetrics and gynaecology wards. Some 84,700 outpatients were seen by hospital staff. Over 4,000 operations were performed in the two hospitals
  • The ICRC provided technical and financial support and medicines to 44 Afghan Red Crescent clinics and to community-based health and first-aid volunteers who provide health care for people in conflict-affected areas. In total, the clinics conducted 207,280 outpatient consultations and administered some 120,900 doses of vaccine for routine childhood diseases and polio. First-aid training was provided for 640 combatants, medical staff and drivers of medical transport

Providing limb-fitting and physical rehabilitation services

The ICRC runs seven prosthetic/orthotic centres in Afghanistan which provide rehabilitation services for amputees and other people with disabilities. The centres help disabled people regain their place in society by providing them with vocational training, micro-credit loans and home education for children. A home-care service offers medical, economic and social support to paraplegics who are bedridden.

Between January and March 2014 the seven ICRC centres:

  • registered 2,087 new patients, including 281 amputees, and assisted more than 23,380 patients in all; made 4,045 prostheses and orthoses;
  • provided 62,960 physiotherapy treatments;
  • granted micro-credit loans to 150 patients to start their own small business ventures;
  • facilitated the ongoing vocational training of 157 patients, 41 of whom completed their training;
  • made 1,775 home visits to assist bedridden patients with spinal cord injuries, and to train their families to help them.

Distributing food and other aid

In partnership with Afghan Red Crescent Society, the ICRC provides emergency food and other items to people displaced by conflict or natural disaster. It also supports communities in their efforts to improve infrastructure, such as irrigation channels, protection walls and water gates, that protect their land and thereby increases food production and income. ICRC support also helps people develop activities that generate income.

Between January and March 2014:

● more than 16,320 people displaced by conflict or natural disaster received food and other items to help them meet their basic needs;
● The ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent finalized 24 cash-for-work projects providing nearly 1,540 people from needy families with the opportunity to work as labourers and receive cash assistance to cover some of their basic needs;
● The ICRC provided 67 para-veterinarians working in their local communities in the southern and central regions with training and with veterinary supplies such as medicines and equipment to de-worm and otherwise treat animals. In addition, it provided two goats and training in basic animal care for each of 328 households in the western region. A further 240 households received almond saplings and basic tools enabling them to set up their own nurseries.

Improving water and sanitation services

ICRC engineers and other ICRC staff work closely with local water boards on both urban and rural water projects. They also promote hygiene awareness in prisons and juvenile centres, and refurbish kitchens, sanitary facilities such as showers, toilets and waste-water treatment systems, and family waiting areas to help improve infrastructure in places of detention.

From January to March 2014, ICRC staff:

  • installed or renovated water supply systems and drilled wells as part of an effort to bring clean water to over 17,000 people in the urban areas of Seh Darak (Kunduz province) and Khost city;
  • installed hand pumps and trained people to maintain them in order to provide clean water to over 115,000 people in rural areas of Parwan, Bamyan, Ghazni, Kapisa, Khost, Panjsher, Nangharhar, Herat, Badghis, Farah, Kunduz, Balkh and Faryab provinces;
  • started hygiene-promotion sessions and distribution of hygiene items in detention places for 9,000 detainees and guards countrywide;
  • improved the water supply and sanitary conditions for 4,800 detainees in seven places of detention;
  • built a pharmacy and an extension of the operating theatre complex, and continued general renovations at the 444-bed Mirwais Regional Hospital in Kandahar.

Promoting compliance with international humanitarian law

Reminding warring parties of their obligation to protect civilians is a fundamental part of the ICRC's efforts to promote compliance with international humanitarian law worldwide. The ICRC also spreads knowledge of international humanitarian law among civil-society groups, government bodies, academics and the media.

Between January and March 2014, ICRC staff:

  • held briefings on the ICRC's mandate and work for over 4,740 people, including community elders, religious scholars, members of provincial councils and other members of civil society, political authorities, NGO staff, and national police, local police, national army personnel, National Directorate of Security and armed opposition;
  • held a train-the-trainers course in the law of armed conflict for more than 45 instructors at the Afghan National Army Ground Forces Command;
  • held 78 one- or two-day sessions on the law of armed conflict for nearly 3,300 national army, national police and National Directorate of Security personnel of all ranks and for other weapon bearers.

Working in partnership with the Afghan Red Crescent Society

The ICRC works closely with the Afghan Red Crescent and provides technical and financial assistance to help it deliver services to the community and implement a range of humanitarian programmes.

From January to March 2014, the ICRC:

  • completed the registration of more than 110 Afghan Red Crescent volunteer team leaders with the support of a joint ARCS/ICRC headquarters team in Helmand, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces;
  • helped the Afghan Red Crescent to organize a volunteer management meeting in Dubai attended by representatives of other components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, including National Societies;
  • awarded prizes to 90 Afghan Red Crescent Society volunteers in the Laghman, Kunar and Nangarhar branches of the society and presented the best volunteers in the three provinces with rewards;
  • supported a five-day strategic leadership workshop aiming to strengthen and maximize leadership skills and capacity for regional heads of Afghan Red Crescent branches in the north, east and west of the country.