Forced repatriation and Returnees- Since 21 April 2007, approximately 88,000 Afghan refugees were deported from Iran through Islam Qala and Zaranj border points. Some of the families have been reluctant to travel to their places of origin because of security and ethnic issues. The lack of landing space does not allow air missions and the insecurity in the area limits access of the UN agencies to effectively reach this population. UNICEF provided 30,000 Oral Rehydratation Salts (ORS) sachets, 1,200 Ringer lactate, 500 ML IV solution and two emergency health kits to provincial health department of Nemroz province to support transit center for deportee in Zaranj. UNICEF provided 263 family kits and tarpaulin sheets to 263 deported families in Farah province as well as an Emergency Health Kit to returnees in Kunar province covering 10,000 population for three months. It is expected that Pakistan will also close four refugee camps forcing refugees to return in the coming months. UNICEF, jointly with UNAMA, UNHCR and other UN and Government agencies, is monitoring the situation and working on a coordinated response and a CERF appeal.
Diarrheal disease control and Pertusis outbreak in the South and East- To control outbreaks of diarrhoeal and other diseases during the summer season, UNICEF gave medicine (ORS, Sodim lactate comp injection, Amoxicillin, Erythromycin, and Cotrimoxazole) to provincial hospitals in southern region. The medicine will cover a population of 3,000 people. In response to a Pertussis outbreak in Daikundi province, UNICEF assisted the provincial department of health with 10,000 tablets and 540 bottles/suspension of Erythromycin to treat children. Landslides in the East and Central Region- 16 houses were destroyed in the Panjab district of Bamyan Province. UNICEF assisted the affected families with six winter tents, 16 tarpaulins and 48 blankets. UNICEF provided 70 tarpaulins, 70 family kits and 70 blankets to 138 affected/IDP families in Watapur district of Kunar Province Floods in the North, West and Central Regions - UNICEF assisted the affected families in Parwan, Smanagan, Balkh and Herat provinces with 681 family kits, one emergency health kit, one water purification unit, 100,000 chlorine tablets, 37 tarpaulin sheets and 1,362 jerry-cans. UNICEF provided total of 1,336 family kits, 226 women's sweaters, 450 jackets for children, 552 sweaters for children, 918 plastic tarpaulin sheets and 300 blanket, and nine school tents to families affected by floods in Badakhshan province.
Pre-positioning of Emergency Supplies in the Northern Faryab Province - UNICEF established a pre-positioning hub/stock of non-food supplies in Faryab province/Maimana City. The space, provided by ARCS, will facilitate quick responses in the event of emergencies. School Tents and floor mats - 20 tents and 60 floor mats were provided by UNICEF to storm affected schools in the returnee concentrated areas of Kunar province and five floor mats to the burnt schools in Laghman province.
Non-Food Supplies assistance to conflict and disaster affected families in the West, North and East- Twenty plastic tarpaulins sheets, 16 blankets, 16 family kits and 25 kg of chlorine powder were given by UNICEF to the 16 storm/wind affected families in Kunar Province . Over 400 war affected families who lost their assets due to an air-raid carried out by the coalition forces in Shindand district of Herat received humanitarian assistance of 400 plastic tarpaulin and 400 family kits from UNICEF.
Challenges- Access to the civilians is limited in the active military operation zones. Operation Achilles is still on-going in Helmand and expected to increase internal displacement of population and need to respond with food and non-food assistance. Supplementary Immunisation, Round 2- National Immunisation Days could not be conducted in Bamyan and Daikundi Provinces and one district of Ghazni due to heavy snow fall and road blockage.
UNICEF RESPONSE - HIGHLIGHTS FROM PROGRAMME ACTIVITES
Community Based Schools (CBS) - Series of assessments to identify exact number of CBS, functioning in remote areas with quality education were completed for Northern, Eastern and Western provinces. The Ministry of Education assigned 38 provincial focal points for UNICEF supported CBS who will be regularly reporting on the progress.
Afghanistan Girls' Education Initiative (AGEI) - In collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and partners three young people in Afghanistan were selected as Young Champions to advocate girls' education in the country. The champions participated in a Regional Workshop, "Training of Trainers -- Young Champions for Education, UNGEI" in early May together with the champions from other countries in the region. During the workshop, the champions drafted action plans for their advocacy activities for one year.
The second meeting of the MOE technical working group, an 18 member organization, for the Afghanistan Girls' Education Initiative was held on 23 April. The group will monitor, provide technical support and mobilize resources to accelerate the progress.
Inclusive Education- Total of 30 teachers received a 7-day orientation training on inclusive education. Being piloted in three schools in Kabul, this project focuses on providing education for 30 children with a variety of disabilities through specialized teaching methods based on their needs.
Healthy school Initiative (HSI) - A national de-worming round begun on 20 May and will end in mid- June. The target is six million grade 1-9 school age children. The de-worming round is organised under the leadership of Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Education with the support of UNICEF, WFP and WHO.
HEALTH / NUTRITION
Two cases of polio (type 1) confirmed in Kajaki district of Helmand province and Maiwand district of Kandahar province. These are the only two cases confirmed so far in 2007.
Polio Eradication Initiatives- A three day series of National Immunisation Days took place on 22-24 April expected to cover around 7.3 million children under the age of five with two drops of oral polio vaccine.
Measles and TT supplementary immunization- Campaigns targeting 2.89 million children under the age of five and 3.68 million women begun in 12 provinces of central and northern regions of Kabul, Kapisa, Parwan, Panjshir, Logar, Wardak and Balkh, Jowzjan, Sari Pul, Samangan, Takhar and Kunduz.
Supplementary Polio Immunization Campaigns - Total of 1,643,004 children under the age of five received oral polio vaccines during the supplementary immunisation activities conducted in the Eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Laghman and Kunar; Western region covering Ghor, Purchaman district in Farah and Farsi district of Herat Provinces as well as in Bamyan, Daikundi, Paktia, Paktika, Ghazni and Khost provinces of Central Region.
WATER AND SANITATION
Spring fed small pipe water supply system- The design and procurement process for three plans in Panjshir valley was completed. Through these schemes communities, schools and health care centres will have access to safe drinking water and the operation and maintenance costs will be cost-effective for the communities.
Alternate technology option- The piloting of the two types of pit latrines as an alternative design for schools based on local situation and needs started in Kabul. The construction works have been closely supervised and monitored by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD).
Hygiene Education - Series of Posters on hygiene education were endorsed by hygiene education Technical Working Group as well as a Child friendly hygiene game which has been developed and endorsed by the hygiene education working group. UNICEF will assist government partners to produce bulk for wider distribution.
Solar Water Pump- Six schools and health care facilities were selected for installation of solar water pumping system as alternative technology in extraction of water on pilot basis. If the technology is proved to be appropriate for the country, MRRD with UNICEF support will scale up wider implementation in 2008.
Revitalization of Birth Registration- Following up the national training of civil registrars and administrative staffs held in Kabul in April, provincial level implementation of birth registration started in Kabul Province. Locations of health posts and mosques used as a local 'birth registration centre' have been identified jointly with the Ministries of Religious Affairs and Public Health.
Child Protection Action Network (CPAN) - Provincial level government departments and NGOs have now officially endorsed CPAN in Juzjan, Balkh and Baghlan (Northern region) and the Central region of Bamyan.
Reintegration of children associated with armed forces and groups and other war-affected children: Reintegration project of over 1,700 demobilized child soldiers and war-affected children was completed in 4 provinces in Western region.
Polio National Immunization Days (NIDs)- Key messages in nine infected districts of Kandahar were distributed through teachers, elders, Imams, Community Health workers who were chosen as the community social mobilizers. In addition public service announcements to inform the communities about the importance of immunisation were aired on national and local TV/Radio channels.
Avian Influenza- UNICEF is supporting a Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey surrounding the poultry handling and health key behaviours related to Avian Influenza. The methodology of the survey has been finalized in a consultative process with full involvement of Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Public Health, FAO, WHO and UNICEF. The survey field work is being conducted in two districts of five provinces of Kabul, Kandahar, Samangan, Jalalabad and Herat.