This report covers the period 1 January to 31 December 2012
During the reporting period, the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) focused on alleviating the suffering of vulnerable people and communities through contributing to the decline in deaths, injuries and impact from disasters, diseases and public health emergencies. This was done through increasing ARCS and community capacity to address situations of vulnerability and reduce intolerance, discrimination at the same time encouraging respect for diversity and human dignity through the disaster management (DM), health, and organisational development (OD) programmes.
In 2012 Afghanistan witnessed severe flooding due to the substantial accumulation of snow across the northern region as a result of the harshest winter in 15 years. The flooding resulted in vast quantities of water gushing across the plains where large populations reside, particularly in Sar-e-Pul province. In addition to this, a number of smaller flood events occurred in the same period in the northern provinces of Jawzjan, Faryab, Samangan, Balkh and Takhar. A total of 18,000 people were affected by the floods. ARCS, with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), responded to the needs of the affected population through provision of health care and sanitation services as well as distribution of shelter and other non-food items.
The severe drought and resulting food insecurity in Afghanistan towards the end of 2011 was followed by a formal declaration of emergency and resulted in the United Nations (UN) agencies along with the Afghan government launching an appeal worth USD 142 million to respond to the immediate as well as longer term needs of 14 drought-affected districts in Afghanistan. The effects of the drought spilled into 2012.
ARCS, IFRC, and International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) responded to the emergency by building on the achievements made by IFRC and ARCS in the ‘IFRC disaster emergency response’ projects supported by the Japanese government in 2010 and 2011. The outcome of the assistance was to reduce vulnerability of the affected communities to acute hunger and malnutrition by providing immediate food support targeting 22,500 households. In addition to the food assistance, the intervention also aimed at strengthening the capacity of ARCS to undertake an effective drought response.
The ARCS OD programme had done well to promote organisational visibility riding on the organisation’s activities. ARCS made significant progress in 2012 in its organizational strengthening agenda with the successful completion of a constitutional review, branch assemblies, and finally its first-ever general assembly. In addition a planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting (PMER) unit was formed and, while in its infancy, has achieved some modest gains in disseminating key PMER concepts throughout ARCS programmes at headquarters and branch levels.
The security situation remains volatile across the country, with events occurring during the reporting period that have increased unrest and caused human casualties. In this context, ARCS must be prepared to take on increasing service delivery, particularly in the areas of primary health care service delivery, preventative care, water and sanitation, social welfare, and disaster preparedness and response as external resources including the number of external agencies dwindle. The conflict continues to cause increasing threat to individual freedom, human dignity and basic rights of the Afghan population, particularly those of vulnerable groups comprising of women, children, ethnic minorities, the elderly and people with disabilities.