Afghanistan is exposed to multiple, predictable and recurrent natural hazards which are exacerbated by on-going climate change. Afghanistan is ranked twelfth on the seismic risk index, twenty-second on the drought risk index, twenty-fourth on the flood risk index, thirtieth on the landslide risk index and eighty-second on the severe storm risk index. The economic and human impact of these recurrent disasters is devastating.
The trend in natural disaster incidents from 1970 to 2012 shows that earthquakes caused the highest loss of life (9,236 out of 20,237 killed), drought affected the most people (6,510,000 out of 9,275,327 people affected) and flooding caused the most economic damage (USD $396 million out of USD $597 million lost). In 2012, 383 natural disaster incidents were recorded in 195 districts. They resulted in 4790 deaths, affected 258,364 people and damaged or destroyed 29,374 homes (OCHA, 2012).
The Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development’s (MRRD) has identified Disaster Management as a cross-cutting issue in its five year strategic intent (2010-2014). The Ministry is committed to promote sustainable development through its three development pillars of infrastructure, economic development and local governance.
MRRD - Disaster Management Strategy has been developed to give special attention to individuals and communities who are most vulnerable when disasters occur. The strategy also aims to address vulnerabilities caused by disaster leading to displacement, loss of homes, loss of livelihoods, separation of families or loss of social and traditional networks.
The strategy will focus on pre and post disaster activities for disaster resilient rural Afghanistan.
MRRD’s National programmes, namely Afghanistan Rural Enterprise Development Programme (AREDP), National Area Based Development Project (NABDP), the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), Rural Water Sanitation and Irrigation Programme (RuWatSIP), National Rural Access Programme (NRAP) and Comprehensive Agriculture and Rural Development – Facility (CARD-F) has huge potential to reduce the social and economic vulnerabilities of rural people by addressing the determinants of disasters, and disaster development nexus. The strategy focuses on mobilizing these MRRD programmes by mainstreaming disaster risk reduction strategies.
The Social Protection Directorate (SPD) of MRRD was established for disaster response, early recovery and mitigation of disasters. It works in close coordination with MRRD’s national programmes (see Appendix 1) as well as external stakeholders. It facilitates the implementation of activities at the community-level with the help of Rural Development Directorates (RRDs) at Provincial level.
SPD is a civil service Directorate of MRRD and is mandated to respond to natural, environmental and other shocks or disasters by mobilizing and facilitating resources for people affected by disaster. It is responsible for educating people in disaster-prone areas on how to cope with natural hazards. It is also mandated to facilitate resources for the livelihoods of returnees and IDPs within Afghanistan to make sure that aid reaches those individuals and communities in need. SPD undertake these activities in close co-ordination and co-operation with MRRD-led programmes who further engage in the implementation of disaster risk reduction activities.
This strategy aims to expand co-ordination and collaboration within MRRD Programmes to the greater benefit of those affected by natural hazards. This strategy will help in establishing focused directions in shaping interventions for disaster management, improving cohesiveness, and reducing or removing duplication of efforts amongst internal and external stakeholders.
The strategy is linked to MRRD’s 1389-1393 Strategic Intent1 in relation to disaster management, Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS), which seeks to make Afghanistan a disaster-resilient country through promoting sustainable development as well it draws its strengths from regional and international commitments such as the Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA).
The strategy is developed for the next four years (2014 – 2018) and lends its focus towards institutional mainstreaming, capacity development, knowledge management, institutional linkages, implementation mechanism and key activities for disaster management by addressing the social and economic needs of vulnerable groups pre and post disasters using equitable approaches in coordination with key stakeholders within the Ministry as well as externally. The strategic objectives are outlined below:
Strategic Objective 1: Institutionalise and integrate risk reduction systems in MRRD’s development Programmes and Directorates for disaster resilient communities to mitigate and respond to the risks of disasters.
Strategic Objective 2: Capacity building and Develop a knowledge management system and research environment to maximise the impact of, and value of, MRRDs activities in disaster risk and disaster reduction.
Strategic Objective 3: Addressing the social and economic marginalisation of those more vulnerable to disasters and the underlying root causes of vulnerabilities.
Strategic Objective 4: Address Disaster Recovery needs of the community, and provision of Emergency Response and Immediate Relief within MRRD programmes.