Afghanistan

UNICEF Afghanistan: Western Region Drought Response Humanitarian Situation Report #3 (15 November 2018)

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Highlights

  • Over 3 million people including an estimated 1.6 million children are affected by the impact of drought across the country. The number of food insecure population is likely to increase to over 6 million people during the lean season

  • While some people are returning to their areas of origin, new arrivals continue to settle in the IDP camps. With the onset of winter season, temperatures continued to drop. With reports of an increasing number of patients with acute respiratory tract infections and two winterrelated deaths, winterization activities continue to be prioritized. UNICEF has delivered clothes and blankets to over 10,000 droughtaffected children in IDP settlements.

  • Water, sanitation and hygiene activities continue to be a priority. With partners, UNICEF is providing over 146,500 (95 per cent of target) people with safe drinking water. UNICEF installed culturally-sensitive latrines benefitting over 60,000 people (75 per cent of target) across IDP sites in Herat and Badghis.

  • Malnutrition rates remain high amongst displaced children. Of the 19,300 children screened in Herat and Badghis IDP settlements, 1,379 were found to be severe acute malnutrition (SAM) cases and were referred for treatment at facilities in Herat and Badghis provinces.

  • UNICEF and partners recently conducted measles campaign reaching over 61,510 children to prevent outbreaks among IDP children.

  • The drought response is 60% funded with the generous contribution of several donors. UNICEF urgently require US$4 million the needs of a quarter million people. UNICEF was forced to suspend some development activities to focus on life saving interventions.

SITUATION IN NUMBERS

120,420 # of children estimated to be displaced to IDP sites and in need of humanitarian assistance in western provinces (Based on children accounting for 54 per cent of the population as per draft 2019 HNO)

223,000 # of people estimated to be displaced to IDP sites and in need of humanitarian assistance in western provinces (Source: OCHA, Nov 2018)

1.7 million (Herat, Badghis and Ghor Provinces) # of people affected by drought (Source: Afghan Humanitarian Country Team Report -8 August 2018)

UNICEF 2018 Drought Response Needs: US$ 10.3 million

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

The drought situation remains dynamic with fluctuating numbers of displaced people as some return while some new IDPs arrive in the temporary settlements. The number of people facing emergency levels of food insecurity has increased by over 74 per cent to reach 3.3 million people compared to last year. According to FEWSNET, the total food insecure population is expected to increase as high as between 6 and 7 million due to a combination of droughts effects, conflict, and weak labour opportunities and remittances from outside the country.
The worst affected provinces include Badghis, Daykundi and Badhakshan which will continue under IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) until mid-next year. Apart from fuelling large scale displacements, drought impacts have compounded the already vulnerable and impoverished communities forcing them to engage in negative coping mechanisms such asset disposal, “selling” of girl children1 or forced marriages, and withdrawal of children from school. There are reports of continued prevalence of child marriage, child labour and child engagement in all IDP settlements in Herat and Badghis.

According to the recent verification exercise, a total of 223,000 people have been displaced due to drought, of which 148,000 are based in Herat, 70,000 in Badghis and 5,000 in Ghor province2 . While the displacement trends remained stable in Herat during the month of November, the number of displaced people increased significantly in Badghis due to the worsening food insecurity. In addition, 301,000 people have been displaced due to the conflict this year with 11,000 people being forced to flee their homes over the past weeks. In addition, some 4,700 IDP families have expressed an interest in returning to their areas of origin. They have been provided with non-food items (NFIs) through IOM, and are awaiting a food distribution before the Government facilitates their return home – UNICEF will continue to support them in areas of origin as needed through durable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities, and access to mobile health and nutrition teams (MHNTs). Most IDPs however, have confirmed that they will remain in IDP sites at least through the winter.

Displaced families living in temporary and poorly insulated shelters face not only the risk of harsh winters but also the risk of flash floods, especially those residing on dry-river beds. Most recently a number of families in these high risk areas have relocated to higher ground. In addition, the risk of acute respiratory infection is very high during the winter season particularly among children due to indoor pollution as families burn wood to keep themselves warm. With 68 per cent of the internally displaced populations living in Herat reporting not intending to return to their areas of origin there is need for the government and humanitarian actors to develop durable solution beyond the current humanitarian response Due to lack of adequate food and access to other basic needs, the nutritional status of IDP children and pregnant and lactating women (PLW) continue to deteriorate. Recent assessment conducted by the Nutrition Cluster indicate that 25 per cent of children aged 0-59 months are acutely malnourished. It is estimated that over 50,000 children under five and about 20,500 pregnant and lactating women (PLWs) are currently displaced in Herat and Badghis as a result of drought. Timely and scaled up emergency nutrition response is required to avoid malnutrition related morbidity and mortality among this at-risk population.

Furthermore, on a weekly basis, during the month of October an average of 1,800 displaced children were diagnosed with diarrhoeal diseases in Herat and Badghis IDP sites. As of November, these numbers remain stable and agencies are promoting increased sanitation and hygiene behaviours. In early November, increased cases of bloody diarrhoea, reaching outbreak levels, were recorded, particularly in Badghis. However, by midNovember, these cases declined significantly. Similarly, despite the presence of outbreaks of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in Herat province, there were no reported cases among displaced people.