Thousands more Afghan families to receive assistance in remote Central Highlands

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Medair expands its relief programme in Central Highlands to help struggling communities recover from drought, flooding, and poor access to water and sanitation.

Communities in the Central Highlands are extremely vulnerable to flooding, drought, and harsh weather conditions at the high altitudes. Furthermore, flash floods in 2010, severe drought in 2011, and a harsh winter in 2012 have pushed many families to the edge of their capacity to cope. Despite serious needs, few organisations are active in this remote area to provide families with assistance.

Relief for Bamyan Families

Since 2000, Medair has been working to improve access to WASH (safe water, sanitation, and hygiene) in numerous Central Highland villages, with great success. Medair has also helped communities recover from disasters like flooding and drought in recent years.

Medair is now expanding its programmes to help the vulnerable children, women, and men of the Central Highlands:

· Food assistance support for families hard-hit by drought · Community-led activities to help reduce the risk of future disasters

· Safe water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion for 30 additional villages

· WASH for 2,500 schoolchildren in five schools

Medair is also a member of the Emergency Response Mechanism (ERM), part of a consortium working in seven provinces across Afghanistan to carry out emergency assessments and respond swiftly when disasters strike. The Medair team will work on integrating disaster risk reduction activities into the work of the ERM.

“We are very grateful for our institutional donors, who have agreed to increase support to help the vulnerable people in the Central Highlands,” said Johan B. ten Hoeve, Medair Afghanistan Desk Officer. “With the strong participation and help of the rural communities where Medair works and the deep commitment of the Afghanistan country team and Medair’s funding partners, we feel well prepared to be able to continue to provide essential relief and rehabilitation services when people need this most.

Closure of Activities in Badakhshan Province

Medair has closed its programme in Badakhshan province following the abduction of its staff there in May 2012. “After careful consideration, we have made the very difficult decision to close our programme in Badakhshan,” said Mark Screeton, Medair International Director. “We didn’t take this decision lightly or quickly as we have been working in Badakhshan since 2001.”

Our work in Badakhshan has saved thousands of lives and left a long-term impact through improved water and sanitation, expansion and major upgrades to the provincial health care system, providing health and nutrition services, and greater household knowledge of hygiene, health, and nutrition. Past projects include disaster responses, food security, and the construction of clinics and schools.