Afghanistan

Afghanistan Weekly Update No. 352

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IDPs in Kabul
Efforts by UN and other agencies to monitor conditions and provide support for displaced families in the region continue. Of the tens of thousands of people, who were initially forced to leave their villages and travel to Kabul in August, a significant proportion traveled on to Pakistan before the onset of winter. In Kabul, regular food inputs from WFP for some 3,000 vulnerable families housed in the ex-Soviet Embassy have been matched by joint UN/NGO non-food distributions. In addition, UNICEF, together with NGOs, has supported the provision of basic services (safe water, health care, and education) and undertaken winterisation measures to buildings in the compound.

The bulk of the displaced population still in Kabul continues to reside in the homes of relatives, who are themselves often poor and vulnerable. To address these needs, an ECHO-funded programme has been launched in the city to provide employment for some 4,000 families during the winter.

In addition to practical support for the displaced, the UN is assessing the possibility for displaced communities to return to their villages of origin as soon as possible, to avoid greater dependence on external assistance.

Health

Diseases

Herat: In close collaboration with MoPH, UNICEF and NPO/RRAA, WHO has pre-pared and implemented a plan to respond to the response measles outbreak in Kushk Rabat Sangi District of Herat province. The outbreak occurred in 28 villages and involved over 100 cases and 45 deaths. A measles vaccination campaign will be undertaken in 33 surrounding villages with a total population of 15,950.

UNICEF will provide 3,250 doses of measles vaccine, medical supplies, and Vitamin A to all affected and high-risk villages in the district.

Hazarajat: AWHO team is investigating the reported outbreak of measles in Yakawlang and Darra Souf. The team will visit affected villages, collect information from health facilities and will study the clinical picture of the disease as well as environmental conditions. The team is also transporting medical supplies and treatment guidelines to be given to the affected population.

Badakhshan: The WHO office pro-vided medical supplies to medical teams of MoPH in Badakhshan, who are travelling to Darwaz and Khwahan districts to cope with the outbreak of measles, which reportedly caused the deaths of over 100 children.

Mission

UNICEF Jalalabad went to Kunar province to monitor survival related activities in Noorgal, Chawkai, Narang, Asadabad, and Shegal districts, with a focus on health facilities.

The EPI teams in the province provide immunisation in the fixed Centres twice a week, and during the remaining four days of the week all vaccinators go to villages (mostly located in valleys and mountains) for outreach immunisation. In some cases, the vaccinators have to walk for 2-3 hours to reach target areas. The main health problems reported from this area are malaria and acute respiratory infections.

Training

WHO conducted two two-week refresher-training courses on immunisation for vaccinators in Herat Regional Hospital for 25 male and 17 female vaccinators.

In Faizabad, WHO conducted a three-day training course on ARI (Acute Respiratory Infections) at Faizabad Hospital, in addition to a two-week training course on tuberculosis.

In Mazar-i-Sharif WHO success-fully completed three training courses for 22 TBAs in Kod-e-Burq, Balkh, and Dawlatabad districts of Balkh province.

In Kunduz, WHO conducted a three-day Regional Health Sector Planning Workshop and prepared an Action Plan for 2000 for northeastern region. Participants focused attention on situation analysis, HIS reporting system, updated provincial health profiles, and health activities.

Water and Sanitation

Due to the worst drought since 1961 in southern Afghanistan, the water table in Kandahar region is alarmingly low. Unless it rains this could produce a serious lack of drinking water for the city as recently in-stalled pumps run dry. WHO reports that this lack of safe water could result in a new wave of outbreaks of diarrhoea, dysentery, and related diseases.

In UNICEF's Water and Environ-mental Sanitation Programme, nine hand pumps were installed in Enjil and Laman districts of Herat and Badghis provinces to provide safe drinking water to some 2,500 people of the locality. Five hundred people in Enjil and Guzara districts were reached with health hygiene messages by RRD mobilisers. They were encouraged to buy low cost family sanitary latrine sets from self-help sanitation center in Guzara.

In Asadabad, Kunar Province, the construction work on the reservoir of Shinkorak water supply project has re-started. The work was stopped due to cold weather.

In Kabul Province, the construction work of Koti-e-Ashro and Shina piped water supplies are under way by RWSD of GRRD and the concerned communities.

The Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DACAAR) has completed water supply projects in Khogiani and Deh Bala districts (Nangahar Province); Musa Qala district (Helmand); Shah Wali Kot district (Kandahar); and Ander district (Ghazni).

These five projects have provided over 250 wells benefiting almost 6,000 families. In addition over 400 baths and over 400 latrines were constructed to benefit over 350 families. The community participated in site selection, and provided unskilled labour and some materials. The pumps provided in the project will be maintained by mechanics initially trained by DACAAR but now paid by the community.

Disability

Sandy Gall's Afghanistan Appeal (SGAA) has issued its new catalogue for the year 2000. The catalogue features wheelchairs, walking aids, and orthopedic devices, all made and available in the SGAA workshop in Jalalabad. The products are continuously tested and improved for use in SGAA's orthopedic workshops and physiotherapy clinics.

SGAA can be contacted at 10 Park Avenue 800 T, PO Box 969, University Town, Peshawar; or at the Public Health Hospital No. 1, Jalalabad; or by email: Sgaa@brain.net.pk

Agriculture

Livestock

FAO's livestock programme has printed the new issue of the Livestock Health and Production Newsletter (Volume 3, Issue 4). The publication is available from FAO in Dari, Pashto, and English.

During the past week, the Kochi survey team treated and de-wormed 558 animals in Farah province, vaccinated 901 animals against Pest des Petits diseases, and examined 58 fecal samples for Endo-parasites.

Afghanistan still has a large population of nomadic livestock owners. A mobile service and investigation team was set up by FAO to identify problems and provide veterinary services to nomads. The team has surveyed selected districts in southern and southeast Afghanistan.

Crops

FAO trained 366 local community farmers in plant protection for better implementation of the integrated pest management (IPM) programme in parts of Herat and Farah Provinces.

This programme uses demonstrations to train community trainers (CTs) and farmers in technical skills and management of horticulture crops within their own traditional integrated farming systems. An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 farmers per province receive training each year. In the western region, Herat, Badghis and Farah, the number of farmers trained is 9,000 while these programmes are estimated to reach up to 27,000 farmers indirectly in those areas.

Rehabilitation assistance

The distribution of mulberry saplings by UNOPS/ARR in Pushtoon Zarghoon, En-jil, Gozara, Ghorian and Zindajan districts of Herat province continues. Each sapling costs Afs. 2000. In addition, preparation is going on for silk worm-egg boxes for the year 2000.

Refugees/Returnees

Voluntary repatriation from Iran

UNHCR and the Iranian government have agreed on ways of facilitating the repatriation of Afghan refugees remaining in Iran, in a move designed to better organise the return process and to put an end to deportations. The current agreement, which comes into force in April, gives Afghan refugees without proper documents six months to come forward and either apply for return or make a case for remaining in Iran. Under the agreement, signed in Teheran last week by the UNHCR representative and the head of Iran's Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs, UNHCR will be fully involved in the voluntary repatriation process as well as in decisions on the status of those not wishing to return to Afghanistan. In the meantime, UNHCR Afghanistan is jointly planning with UN agencies and NGOs in order to prepare for the commencement of the operation on the Afghan side.

Voluntary repatriation from Pakistan

On 23 February, a meeting of the Tripartite Repatriation Commission (TRC) was held in Kabul to review repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan. The meeting was hosted by the Taliban repatriation minister, Maulana Abdul Raqib and attended by a delegation of the Government of Pakistan, led by the Secretary -Minister for States and Frontier Region, as well as the offices of UNHCR Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Returning refugees

Some 33 families (200 persons) returning to Afghanistan from NWFP (Pakistan) received their repatriation-grant in Jalalabad.

Reintegration assistance

Projects for shelter rehabilitation assistance to Afghans who returned in late 1999 continued to be implemented, namely for returnee families in Farah province, and in Bati Kot district of Nangahar, where a shelter project for 107 returnee families will be completed during the week.

New Brochure: Strategic Framework

The Office of the United Nations Coordinator for Afghanistan has printed a simple tri-lingual brochure (Dari, Pashto, English) outlining the objectives and principles of the Strategic Framework for Afghanistan. For copies, please contact ariana.yaftali@undp.org

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