1. KHOST & PAKTIKA UPDATE
Operational access in Khost has expanded for UN agencies. UNHCR has conducted missions to numerous communities in the past few weeks to gather information on transitional shelter needs, assess gaps in assistance and protection challenges, follow-up with PSN (Persons with Specific Needs) cases and discuss key issues with refugees and host communities.
Following the missions to Lakan, Mando Zay, Shamal and Tani the majority of refugees expressed the need for assistance with transitional shelter; as in the camp, many are in the process of constructing walls out of mud bricks or local materials, but need assistance with roofing. This can be an important strategy in helping refugees prepare for winter, especially as most families have indicated that their resources are dwindling.
These missions have also found that refugees are very concerned about education for their children and although there are emergency primary schools available, more assistance is needed in terms of increasing the number of schools for younger children and expanding access to education for older students. Additional concerns shared by the refugees continue to be access to clean drinking water and latrines, as well as more access by mobile clinics and availability of food.
It is also important to note that this caseload will be present again during the winter months and agencies operating in Khost and Paktika will need to develop winterization strategies and start planning for winter assistance. Last year the winter was quite mild, however there were nonetheless secondary movements of refugee families from more mountainous areas to communities at lower elevations and the camp. In particular, firewood or fuel assistance is needed to help families with heating solutions which will reduce the risk of depleting local environments and coming across unexploded ordinance when searching for firewood.