UNICEF Afghanistan: Western Region Drought Response Humanitarian Situation Report #1 (20 September 2018)
During the reporting period, UNICEF provided access to safe drinking water to 141,132 people (91 per cent of target). In addition, 2,997 school-aged children were reached with formal and non-formal education; and 5,528 severely acute malnourished children (15% of target) received treatment in drought affected IDP sites and host communities
On child protection, 3,579 emergency-affected boys and girls (24 per cent of target), including separated children, have benefited from psycho-social services.
Given the low vaccination rate from the areas of origin, despite no reports of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, UNICEF and partners prioritized the immunization of, 11,300 children against Measles and 12,539 children against polio. 6,054 pregnant women received Antenatal Care services through 11 Mobile Health Teams.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
According to the data presented by OCHA to the latest Humanitarian Country Team meeting on 13 September 2018, the drought affected IDPs are estimated at 266,000. 84,000 of them have settled in Herat, and 182,000 within Badghis, their province of origin. In the last month alone, more than 84,000 people have been displaced to Herat city and 18,579 families (94,945 people) have been displaced to Qala-e-Naw City (capital of Badghis province) within the last month. IDPs are residing in dozens of sites on the outskirts of the cities, or in makeshift shelters within the main cities. This makes it more difficult to reach them in a smaller number of catchment areas. Of those displaced, 215,000 children are in need of humanitarian assistance; over 50,000 are children under five years, and about 20,500 are pregnant and lactating women (PLWs) in Herat and Badghis provinces. Emergency Shelter conditions in all the displacement sites remain dire and needs are urgent especially for the newly arrived IDPs in Qala-e-Naw City and Herat considering the winter season approaching.
Multi-cluster assessments indicated that most of these IDPs were displaced from with the Badghis Province (73 per cent) – known as the most deprived Province in the whole of Afghanistan while 14 per cent had arrived from Ghor and 8 per cent from Faryab. There are plans for food distributions to start in areas of origin (reaching up to 100% of the population in affected districts) but the exact date has not yet determined.
The number of children displaced is changing rapidly, especially in Badghis Province where families are continuously moving. It is estimated that 40 – 60 percent of school aged children of the total population, i.e. an estimated 52,400 girls and boys, needs access to quality education. Displaced children are likely to miss out on education and are subject to increased protection risks (negative coping mechanisms such as increased child labour, child marriage, exploitation and harm, violence etc.)
There has been significant progress on access to water (largely through short term and expensive solutions such as water trucking) and latrines (separate latrines for women) for the IDPs in Herat. However, the lack of water availability is a major key concern for the IDPs in Qala-e-Naw, Badghis Province where daily water availability per person was reported as low as 5 liters per person per day. Functional latrines are not available in all the displacement sites in Badghis Province.
In Herat, some 12,000 displaced families from Badghis are still living in makeshifts tents, and continuous dust and wind threaten the health of children. Though ,40 per cent of displaced families still do not have access to latrines, UNICEF through DACAAR is working to cover this gap in the next three months.
Diarrheoa, Acute Repository Infections (ARI), pneumonia, skin infections (due to poor hygiene) are major illnesses affecting women and children in the IDP settlements. Most of IDPs have come from Badghis province and some from Ghor and Faryab provinces, where access to quality Health care service has been seriously constrained. Basic Vaccination coverage is lower in under one children (51 % in Badghis and 26% in Ghori). In addition, some other health indicators for Badghis province are lowest than the rest of the countryii. In Herat, Most of IDPs have settled in Enjil district of Herat province about 10-15km away from Herat city. There are two functional Comprehensive Health Centres run by BPHs (Basic Package of Health services). Despite the presence of these two health facilities in the area, many IDPs do not make it to the health centres because of the distance and the lack of means of transport. Nine mobile Health and Nutrition teams were established to render regular basic health and nutrition services to around 12,000 IDPs families settled in the area (3 MHT supported by UNICEF, 3 by World Vision, 2 by UNFPA and one by Afghan Red crescent society). The situation in Badghis is slightly different as there is a need to increase the number of teams that provide full-time nutrition and health care services in IDPs camps, given the already very weak health system in that province.
The nutritional status of IDP children and Pregnant and lactating women (PLW) is at heightened risk of deterioration.
Recent Nutrition Rapid SMART surveys conducted by ACF in the selected hotspot locations during July-2018 have revealed Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of 19.7% and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) rate of 5.7% in Badghis.
MUAC screening among IDP children in Herat city showed about a quarter of children 6-59 months are acutely malnourished. Over 50,000 children under five and about 20,500 PLW are currently displaced in Herat and Badghis because of mainly drought induced factors. Timely and scaled up emergency nutrition response is required to avoid malnutrition related morbidity and mortality among this at-risk population.
Prevalence of Child Marriage, child engagement, child labour, unsafe migration to Iran is on the rise among all the settlements in Herat and Badghis due to increased poverty and families being heavily in debt. From 29 July-12 September 2018, 73 cases of Child marriage (57 cases among Herat IDPs, 16 in Badghis) including selling of girl children is reported by the Child Protection monitors. This is still an under-reported figure as communities are very scattered and the monitoring capacity is limited.