Afghanistan Weekly Update No. 350

The government of Turkey has contributed $20,000 to help cover the costs of the United Nations emergency project for Dara Souf, Samangan Province.

The Ariana Hijacking

Following the recent hijacking of the Ari-ana Airlines plane in London, ten Afghan hostages who were released from the Ariana aircraft at Moscow were transported by UNHCR through Turkmenistan and were received at the Afghan/Turkmen border (Torghundi) by UNHCR. UNHCR and UNOCHA transported them to Herat before their subsequent relocation to Kabul by lo-cal authorities.

In Kandahar, the United Nations was on hand to receive the 73 Afghan hos-tages who chose to return home from Lon-don. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has verified the voluntary nature of their return, and will facilitate their return to their homes.

The Reconstruction of Khowja Ghar

The area of Khowja Ghar in Takhar Prov-ince suffered heavy destruction during the fighting in 1999. According to Shelter Now International (SNI), the shelter survey work in 65 villages has been completed by SNI and ACTED in the districts of Khowja Ghar and Hazar Bagh, as has been the pur-chase of materials for the reconstruction of 500 shelters. Cards are being distributed to the initial beneficiaries based on current findings. Materials for all the shelters will be distributed by the end of February.

The following materials have been purchased and stored for distribution by SNI: 5,000 wooden beams, 2,000 bamboo mats, plastic sheeting, 237 doors, and 10 windows. An additional, 3,000 wooden beams are to be delivered by the end of the week and 163 doors and 390 windows are in Rustaq ready for shipping. They will be shipped as soon as weather permits and trucks are available.

Weather conditions deteriorated this week with additional rain, snow, and freezing temperatures resulting in addi-tional requests for floor mats and cotton mattresses and delays to the reconstruction efforts.

The water supply situation contin-ues to be a problem in Khowja Ghar City. This problem is unrelated to the recent fighting as the region has historically been water poor. In the past wells were dug to a depth of 50 to 60 meters without success. The placement of an inlet upstream along the Kokcha River has also been made difficult with the mining of the area leading up to the river bridge which was eventually blown up in the fighting.

In a meeting with the local Commission and SNI's engineers, the number one community need identified was the water supply problem.

Food Security/Food Aid

Price of Wheat Flour

The price of wheat flour for the last week of January, in major urban areas in Af-ghanistan, showed little movement over the previous week=C6s prices. When compared to the first week in October, when the prices began increasing, wheat flour prices re-mained high, however. Prices had increased by 67% in Kandahar, 65% in Ghazni, 56% in Jalalabad, 52% in Kabul, 39% in Mazar, 27% in Herat and 11% in Faizabad. Prices from the 7th û 13th February remained more or less stable over prices from the last week of January and, as compared to the first week in October, had increased by 64% in Kandahar, 58% in Ghazni, 61% in Jalala-bad, 46% in Kabul, 39% in Mazar, 33% in Herat (-) 2% in Faizabad.


Between September and December 1999, WFP employed 600 female surveyors in Mazar-i-Sharif and 300 female surveyors in Jalalabad to conduct citywide house-to-house surveys. The results of the surveys serve as the basis for selecting WFP bakery beneficiaries. In both cases, authorisation to employ the women was received from local Taliban authorities and the female surveyors were able to move freely throughout the cities to complete their work.

The Kandahar EMOP

The card distribution for the WFP Kanda-har Emergency Operation is expected to be completed during the next week. To date, at least 2,871 families in Kandahar and Lashkagar have received the first tranche of their family ration, 100 kg of wheat and 25 kg of CSB. It is expected that WFP will distribute 250kg of wheat per household, a total of 7,164 MT, to an estimated 200,000 people. Emergency interventions are antici-pated in ten districts and Kandahar City in Kandahar province and one district in Zabul province.


In Badakhshan, a joint meeting of WHO, WFP, AFGHANAID and MoPH in Faiza-bad City discussed training for traditional birth attendants (TBAs). WFP agreed to provide wheat for TBA trainers and trainees in Badakhshan, while WHO will provide TBA kits. MoPH and AFGHNAID would help in identifying TBAs. In addition, the WHO team met with WFP and signed an agreement about the provision of supple-mentary food for three tuberculosis centres in Badakhshan.

Disease outbreak

A joint WHO/MoPH mission visited Gul-ran district in Herat Province to follow up on the previously reported outbreak of veno occlusive liver disease there. The mission observed that the supportive treatment and supplementary food for the patients and their relatives has helped in reducing the mortality rate in patients.

Medical supplies

WHO distributed surgical supplies to the Kunduz Regional Hospital, ARCS Clinic, MoPH Polyclinic, and MoPH Regional Hospital of Kunduz. In Faizabad, WHO distributed medical and lab supplies to the Faizabad TB control Centre and Labora-tory. In Ghazni, WHO provided a suction machine and surgical equipment to PHD Ghazni, and anti-TB and ARI drugs to Ma-quar and Ander TB treatment centres and Rashidan Hospital. In Kandahar, WHO contributed 13,134 meters of pipe in addi-tion to water supply equipment to the Kan-dahar Water Supply Department for main-tenance and extension.


During this month, the NGO MARUF con-tinued its health education and mine aware-ness programs for more than 100 vulnerable families (including IDPs from Shamali and surrounding villages) in Kunduz province.

MARUF also continued its Health Education program for 600 families in the Russian compound in Kabul. The project is implemented through four health mobiliser teams (couples).

In Kunduz, WHO distributed ma-laria guidelines to health facilities, while in Farah City, WHO conducted a two-week refresher-training course for 17 vaccinators.


Given the increasing workload, CDAP and SCA jointly constructed a new building for the CDAP/SCA orthopaedic workshop in Ghazni City. The new building of 24 rooms will enable the workshop to accom-modate more orthopaedic equipment so that it can better meet the needs of disabled people coming from the six neighbouring provinces of Ghazni, Wardak, Logar, Pak-tia, Paktika and Zabul.

An eight-day theoretical training for the technicians of the CDAP/SCA Ghazni orthopaedic workshop was organised by CDAP/UNOPS/UNDP in the new building in Ghazni City.

The training aimed at upgrading and refreshing the skills of workshop techni-cians. The training addressed topics such as gait training and normal human locomo-tion, deviation in above knee prostheses, instruction about above knee prostheses, and casting of PTB (Patella Tendon Bear-ing) prostheses.


Following UNDCP's in-depth study of opium and other problem drug use in a group of Afghan refugee women in New Akora refugee camp near Peshawar, (Weekly Update 349), an integrated com-munity-based drug treatment, rehabilitation and prevention programme for male and female drug abusers was initiated in this camp in conjunction with ORA Interna-tional. Another project providing tertiary prevention services through a day-care drop-in centre for Afghan heroin addicts on the streets of Peshawar was launched in conjunction with the Dost Welfare Foundation.

UNDCP has now completed a comparative study of 300 Afghan street heroin addicts in Peshawar and Quetta, which will be published in the next few months.

UNDCP Afghanistan's pilot programme in the districts of Ghorak, Khakriz, and Maiwand in Kandahar province com-pleted preparation and sowing of 30 demonstration plots of onions. In addition, two karezes were rehabilitated in Khakriz dis-trict, and 73 people including tribal elders, religious leaders, and farmers attended drug awareness sessions.

In the family health project, 30 women were trained in family healthcare and livestock production. The training lasted for two weeks. Thirty other women were trained in basic health rules and sani-tation.

Mine Action

Under the Adopt a Minefield programme, the Mine Action programme has identified ten very high priority minefields in Kanda-har province due for clearance by June 2000. The areas include one sewerage ca-nal, residential areas, irrigation canals, and agricultural land.

MCPA survey teams completed the survey of two agricultural areas and one grazing area in Maiwand and Dand dis-tricts, Kandahar province, a total of 184,245 square metres. The clearance of these areas will benefit 5,640 individuals.

Mine Action has also recently cleared two irrigation canals in Zabul Province. This activity will allow the repatriation of 325 refugee families and enable them to cultivate about 500 hectares of their agricultural land.

Assistance Community News

The NGO International Rescue Committee is opening an office in Herat. Although IRC has been operating in other parts of Af-ghanistan for many years, this is the first time they will be present in western Af-ghanistan. The NGO hopes to work in rural rehabilitation, especially in returnee areas.

The NGO Médecins du Monde (MDM) is reviving activity in the west. They are operating health clinics in parts of Herat City.

Office of the UN Coordinator for Afghanistan.
Islamabad, Pakistan.


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