- KHOST & PAKTIKA UPDATE
Initially it was anticipated that the military operations in North Waziristan would last only through September 2014 and then the refugees could return home, however the military operations were extended to the end of 2014 and again through 2015. One refugee elder explained his family’s intention to return “We are eagerly waiting to return, but we need to see the situation on the ground…it could be a few years because of the insecurity.”
In the camp, families are building transitional shelters by constructing walls out of mud bricks, indicating that they expect to stay longer, while reports indicate that there has been significant destruction of property and infrastructure on the other side. Many refugee families indicated that although they could construct walls, they needed some assistance with supplies for roofing including beams and sheeting. This also raises the concern that agencies operating on the ground will need to adjust their strategy to include more medium-term assistance, while emergency assistance is still required as new families continue to arrive.
One of the sectors that is particularly important in the medium-term is WASH. Although UNICEF,
DACAAR, IMC, Solidarites and NCA have been active in WASH activities in both provinces constructing water points, rehabilitating wells, conducting hygiene promotion sessions and distributing emergency latrines there are still gaps. From DACAAR’s extensive work in Khost communities they found that even water trucking can be difficult due to the terrain and lack of roads. At the same time, additional water points are needed in many communities, while more remote and mountainous areas require drilling of deeper wells and gravity pipe schemes. Adequate drinking water and sanitation facilities become even more acute during the warmer months. To help address these gaps UNHCR is launching Quick Impact Projects to help support short-term infrastructure and community-based projects; organizations interested in participating should contact UNHCR.