UNHCR undertook a mission to Paktika this week to meet with partners including provincial officials, DoRR, DoRRD, Afghan Red Crescent Society, APA, ORCD and refugee leaders to discuss assistance, needs, gaps and coordination issues. The majority of the refugee population in Paktika is from the Wazir and Masood tribes, which are the same tribes in Paktika, which has proven to be an effective coping mechanism as the hosting communities are supporting the refugee population.
Humanitarian actors do have access to the main districts where refugees are living, Barmel and Urgun. In Urgun where there are approximately 300 refugee families they have mainly settled within the host communities and villages. In Barmel where there are approximately 9,200 families, refugees seem to have self-settled on the outskirts of host communities. However, as the situation has prolonged there are concerns about the host communities’ ability to support the population particularly in regards to food, transitional shelter and education.
International Medical Corps has completed a project, which provided extensive support in the areas of Health and WASH in Paktika for the refugee population, including training men and women on hygiene awareness, providing vaccinations, basic health services and sanitation kits while constructing 70 latrines and establishing WASH committees in Urgun district. However access to latrines and potable water still remain a challenge, while the availability of health services is limited. UNHCR is launching Quick Impact Projects to try and address some of the immediate infrastructure needs, while a strategy for transitional shelter will need to be considered for both provinces