Afghanistan

Afghanistan Weekly Update No. 346

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Originally published
Assistant Secretary General for UNSMA
The Secretary-General has appointed Mr. Francisco Vendrell as his Personal Representative and Head of the Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA), at the rank of Assistant Secretary-General. The appointment will take effect on 1 February.

Mr. Vendrell joined the UN in 1968 and has held a variety of posts related to political affairs and international law. He is currently the Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

Mr. Vendrell, from Spain, has been the Deputy Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for the Central American Peace Process from 1989 to 1991. He also represented the Secretary-General during the first phase of the Guatemala peace negotiations from 1990 to 1992.

During Mr. Vendrell's tenure at the United Nations, he has been Visiting Professor at the Yale Law School, in 1977 and 1979, and at Rutgers Law School from 1972 to 1974, and Director of Studies at The Hague Academy of International Law in 1979. Before joining the United Nations, he was Lecturer in Constitutional Law at the University of Papua New Guinea.

Food aid/Food security

Since the beginning of the year, WFP has approved five projects: A six-month food-for-work winter relief for 2,200 of Kabul's vulnerable population using 1,918 MT of wheat. A food-for-work water supply project in Logar and Wardak provinces for 82 daily wage labourers using 33 MT of wheat. A "soup kitchen" for 10,000 food recipients in Kabul city with 232 MT of food for four months; and a food-for-work municipal infrastructure/ neighbourhood action programme for Farah city with 132 daily wage labourers using 144 MT of wheat. In addition, 7,500 MT of wheat will be available for the repatriation of Afghan refugees from Iran and Pakistan, in collaboration with UNHCR.

Southeastern Afghanistan

WFP has approved an emergency food distribution for ten districts in the provinces of Kandahar, Zabul, and Helmand. A total of 28,649 households (about 200,000 people) are expected to receive 200kg of wheat and 25kg of Corn Soya Blend over the next four months for a total of 5,792 MT of wheat and 716 MT of CSB. The decrease in the 1999 cereal harvest, due to dry weather conditions, the decrease in wheat crossing the border from Pakistan and the subsequent increase in wheat flour prices have necessitated this food assistance.

A house-to-house survey in Kandahar City is underway. The survey will identify 15,500 of the most vulnerable households. A total of 28 women and 26 men have been trained in order to conduct the survey. WFP was able to begin distributing ration cards to beneficiaries on 16 January.

Two Afghan women have been identified as program assistants to enhance WFP's gender program for the region. Their selection was finalised last week.

Health

Médecins sans Frontières (MsF) has started an emergency preparedness and response intervention in the Infectious Disease Ward (IDW) in Mirwais Hospital, Kandahar City. The first goal is the rehabilitation of the sewerage system, septic tanks, toilets and showers of the IDW, which is expected to be complete by the end of January.

Water/Sanitation

This week the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan will send 20 trucks across the Afghan-Pakistan border at Torkham with 500 metric tonnes of cement. SCA is planning to construct 1200 water wells in Afghanistan this year. This shipment of cement will be used for the construction of about 840 water wells in the eastern and southeastern regions.

Education

Six trucks, each carrying ten tonnes of textbooks and stationery for schools supported by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), have left Peshawar for Jalalabad and Ghazni. Each year SCA sends about 80 tonnes of textbooks and stationery to 580 schools and 170, 000 students in 18 provinces in Afghanistan.

The Comprehensive Disabled Afghans' Program CDAP/UNOPS runs a community based education program in Kandahar and Farah in close collaboration with UNICEF. The program which established and supports 44 community based schools for girls and boys, was jointly monitored and evaluated by CDAP/UNOPS, the local community and local authorities for the first time.

Disability: Direct Program Implementation by CDAP

Working toward a more cost-effective and sustainable community based rehabilitation (CBR) program, CDAP/UNOPS has started direct implementation of its CBR program in southern and southwest Afghanistan. The program will be mainly run and managed by local trained CBR staff in close co-operation with Community Based Rehabilitation Committees (CBRCs) and local Disabled People Organisations, (DPOs) established and trained during the past few years.

Agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Crops Programme for Afghanistan has just released its six month report on seed activities in Afghanistan.

The report notes that in 1999 over 5,543 Afghan farmers were registered for seed production countrywide.

Highlighting the summer and winter crop national seed programmes, the report said that participating farmers produced over 4,700 metric tonnes of improved seed. After being tested and treated, the seeds are distributed to farmers all over the country.

Narcotics

In Kandahar, UNDCP has finalised six agricultural sub-project proposals. The new sub-projects will focus on orchard establishment and an integrated pest management programme for the UNDCP target districts on 70 hectares of agricultural land previously under opium poppy. In each of the three target districts, an agro-chemical store will be established which will enable the growers to have easy access to required agro-chemicals and equipment.

The infrastructure section of UNDCP Kandahar recently began rehabilitating fourteen karezes in the target districts. The rehabilitation of these structures will greatly enhance the availability of the irrigation water and bring more agricultural lands under the cultivation of licit crops.

The UNDCP Afghan female comunity mobilizer visited five villages in the targets district of Maiwand and continued her routine meetings with female family members. She had discussions in the areas to explain the objectives of UNDCP and raise awareness concerning the hazardous effects of drugs, health, education, family problems, and children.

Publications

The latest issue of Afghanistan Outlook has now been issued by e-mail. It is also available on the website of the Afghanistan assistance community at www.pcpafg.org.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.