Afghanistan

UNICEF Humanitarian Action: Afghanistan Donor Update 11 May 2001

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URGENT NEEDS IN NUTRITION, SHELTER AND WATER & SANITATION SECTORS

  • Over 12 million Afghans affected by drought
  • New IDP population over 500,000
  • Increased mortality amongst children under five
  • Only 43 % of Emergency Plan requirements funded

1. EMERGENCY OVERVIEW AND RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Afghanistan faces crisis due to conflict and drought

Afghans are suffering from the long-term impact of conflict and its related consequences such as a severe weakening of the infrastructure and human resource base, as well as death, injury and trauma. The country is also experiencing the most serious drought in 30 years. In the context of the current emergency, it can be fairly stated that Afghanistan is facing a serious humanitarian crisis. Children and women, particularly, are in a vulnerable situation, especially in view of the various restrictions/bans on women's work and movement. It is a challenge to reach children and women within the families, in spite of the restrictions, and to ensure that their multiple needs are understood and addressed.

Massive displacements throughout the country

Over 12 million Afghans are estimated to be affected by the recent drought and over 1 million people will face an unbridgable food security gap in the next 2-4 months, before the next harvest. A recent WFP survey indicates that 40 per cent of the usually cultivated land is not cultivated, due to the shortage of seeds and lack of rain. A Save The Children (US) survey of drought hit districts in Northern Region (March-April 2001) found high mortality amongst children under 5 years of age. In addition, the increased movement of people leads to reduced productivity. The conflict and drought situation has resulted in a new Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) flow of over 500,000 people since summer 2000. An estimated 152,000 Afghans entered Pakistan over the last five months alone. Afghan coping mechanisms and safety nets are almost completely depleted and worn out.

2. CURRENT IDP SITUATION AND UNICEF'S RESPONSE

OVERVIEW OF SPECIFIC IDP LOCATIONS

Western Afghanistan

It is estimated that the drought has resulted in an average of 75% loss in crops and 50% reduction in livestock assets. Many drought-affected people have been forced to migrate from the neighbouring provinces to Herat city, which contains the highest IDP concentration: six camps with over 140,000 people (compared to 90,000 in March 2001). The majority of camp inhabitants are women and children. Number of IDPs will increase, as over 300 families come in daily (1,500 people at end April 2001).

Southern region

This region has about 23,000 IDP families. The majority are kochis who are believed to have lost up to 90 % of their livestock. The two most affected provinces are Helmand and Kandahar.

Northern region

An estimated IDP population of over 100,000 (both drought- and conflict-affected) live with host families in public buildings and makeshift shelters. Of the total population in camps, roughly 44 % are children under 18 years and 30 % women. The number of IDPs is expected to rise because of increased fighting in the region.

North-Eastern Region

Until August 2000, Northern Alliance had full territorial control over two provinces, but the Taliban initiated a major offensive in late August 2000. It is estimated that some 18,000 families (over 100,000 people) were displaced during the last offensives. A large population crossed the frontline and moved into the northern provinces. About 10,000 people have moved to Faizabad city in Badakshan province and the remaining people have taken shelter in Takhar province.

Central Region

Since September 1999, over 20,000 IDPs from the Shomali plains have been living in the ex-Soviet Compound in Kabul. Several hundreds of families have arrived in Kabul since fighting erupted in the fall of 2000 and in early 2001. In addition, over 50,000 Shomali IDPs continue to live in the Panjshir valley. About 30,000 people are thought to have left the centre of Bamyian as due the early 2001 fighting.

EMERGENCY PROGRAMME MARCH-AUGUST 2001

In response to the drought conditions and increasing displacements, UNICEF, with its partners, prepared an emergency plan covering the period of March-August 2001. The various sectors and the related activities are presented below:


1. Immunisation

IDPs and the families living close to them are at risk of diseases and therefore all children under 15 years are being given measles vaccination either when they are entering the camp (transit centre), via routine Immunization (EPI) services or through specific measles campaigns. Vitamin A supplementation is also given at this time. Polio campaigns were carried out in all IDP camps in March and April, and the next round is due in May 2001.

2. Provision of essential drugs

UNICEF provides essential drug kits to Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), NGOs and partners to enable them to offer medical care and treatment for the sick (against diarrhoea/cholera, measles, malaria or other acute infections). Financial support and supplies/equipment were provided to NGO partners to expand their services to serve the IDPs. ORT (Oral Rehydration Therapy) corners were established in the IDP camps in Herat to provide advice, treatment and hygiene education.

3. Women's health needs

Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) were identified and trained by MSF with UNICEF support in the Herat IDP camps. Pregnant women were given clean delivery kits and advised on the danger signs of complications that may occur. A monitoring/reporting system is being put in place, and a referral system for obstetric emergencies was established in Herat. Similar initiatives are being undertaken for other IDP camps/locations. Women will also be provided with sanitary materials and soap. A baby package (blanket and clothes for the newborn) was produced locally by women for 400 newborn in IDP camps in Herat. Similar opportunities are being explored elsewhere.

4. Nutritional Assessment and Surveillance

Considering the crop failures due to drought, the nutritional status of children is likely to deteriorate in coming months. A nutrition surveillance system, to collect and interpret available nutrition and health information, will be established. This information will be used to detect early warning signs, to respond quickly, and to assess impact of interventions to prevent severe malnutrition and even deaths of children. UNICEF is currently recruiting two nutrition experts, to be supported by a team of local assistants. A nutritional survey of IDP children in Southern Region is under preparation.

5. Therapeutic and supplementary feeding for malnourished children

UNICEF has pre-positioned therapeutic and supplementary feeding for some 6,000 severely and moderately malnourished children to prevent the former group from death and the latter from becoming severely malnourished, for a period of six months.

6. Provision of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education

In IDP camps and in areas most affected by drought, improvement of existing dugwells, repair of existing handpumps, construction of new borewells with handpumps, chlorination of water wells, and installation of sanitary latrines, bathing facilities and disposal bins is ongoing. Supply of water to new IDP camps by water tankers is also supported. Training on construction of sanitary latrines and on improved hygiene practices to disseminate hygiene messages is being conducted.

7. Provision of basic non-food items

Since the cold season continued till April in some areas, clothes, shoes and blankets were procured to protect children, in addition to firewood and kitchen utensils. Additional tents are being procured as IDP numbers increase.

8. Education

As the IDP crisis continues and worsens, the development/education needs of children are increasing. Education helps to bring back a sense of stability and normalcy in the lives of IDP children, and can consequently, strengthen their psychosocial wellbeing. These activities will only be undertaken on condition that girls and boys will be able to participate. Activities will therefore target the girl child and other disadvantaged children in the IDP camps specifically. By end April, trainers were trained in Herat, who will further train teachers. Education will begin for 2,000 children in one IDP camp in Herat in May.

9. Protection of children and women

Opportunities are being identified to develop protection/psychosocial interventions, including establishing support networks, recreational and sports activities. Surveys on Female Headed Households were carried out in the IDP camps of Herat and NGO trained women will soon begin providing psychosocial counseling to women in these camps.


Logistics, Coordination and Monitoring

An international emergency officer was recruited in April 2001. He traveled immediately to the IDP camps in Herat to further assess the increasing needs and to accelerate UNICEF's actions. Two international nutrition experts are being recruited. At the regional level, regional teams of 5-10 national staff will be contracted to assist the UNICEF emergency operation on the ground with skills in gender issues, project management, water/sanitation, public health, nutrition, cold chain/logistics, etc. Through these teams UNICEF's capacity for implementation and monitoring will be increased. So far 6 national emergency officers have begun their work in Herat and Mazar, and 3 more are being recruited.

Staff from UNICEF Headquarters, in close collaboration with UNICEF Afghanistan office, participated in the IDP Interagency mission which took place in April. UNICEF agreed on the following priority areas for follow-up action: psychosocial support, water and sanitation, impact assessments of effects of displacement on women and children, and education.

3. APPEAL REQUIREMENTS AND RECEIPTS

In November 2000, UNICEF, along with other sister agencies, appealed for US$ 6.3 million to cover implementation costs of the 2001 Afghanistan programme. The table and graph below show the current funding status of the 2001 Appeal, by sector.

2001 APPEAL REQUIREMENTS AND FUNDING AS OF MAY 2001
Sector
Target (US$)
Funded (US$)*
% Funded
Unfunded (US$)
Immunisation
3,795,000
2,527,002
67
1,267,998
Water/Sanitation
800,000
800,000
Safe Motherhood
465,000
465,000
Integrated Primary Health Care
400,000
400,000
Education
800,000
476,200
59
323,800
Protection/Promotion
100,000
100,000
Total
6,360,000
3,003,202
47
3,356,798

* These amounts do not include the 5 % indirect programme support costs

* PHC: Primary Health Care


The following table indicates the contributions received for the Appeal, by donor.

DONORS FUNDS RECEIVED FOR 2001 APPEAL
AS OF MAY 2001
Donor
Income/Pledge (US$)*
Purpose
Rotary International (RI)
450,009
Immunization
Centre for Disease Control (CDC)
1,656,635
Immunization
CDC
323,377
Immunization
US
69,525
Immunization
International Development Research (IDR)
27,456
Immunization
Japan
476,200
Education
Total
3,003,202

* These amounts do not include the 5 % indirect programme support costs

CIDA (Canada) has made a commitment of US$ 213,000 for the 2001 Appeal.

EMERGENCY PLAN MARCH-AUGUST 2001

In response to the drought and the increased displacements, the UNICEF Afghanistan office developed the Emergency Plan in March 2001 (US$ 3,795,750 for the period March-August 2001), in collaboration with partners, to respond to the earlier mentioned priority needs of IDPs, scattered in different parts of the country. To enable a quick start of the plan, UNICEF headquarters had "pre-positioned" US$ 650,000 from its Emergency Programme Funds. (It is important to note that this amount is a loan to be reimbursed as soon as donor funds are received.) The response of donors and UNICEF National Committees has been positive but there is still a funding gap of over US$ 2.1 million. The table below shows the funding current status of the Plan, by sector and donor.

EMERGENCY PLAN MARCH-AUGUST 2001 REQUIREMENTS AND FUNDING

AS OF MAY 2001

Sector
Target (US$)
Funded (US$)
Donor
% Funded
Unfunded (US$)
Immunisation
420,000
40,000
UK
56
181,577
198,423
Sweden
Women’s Health / Essential drugs / Disease outbreaks
440,000
170,521
Denmark
60
172,807
30,000
UK
66,672
Japan
Water/Sanitation
450,000
187,592
Irish Natcom*
91
36,408
26,000
UK
200,000
Japan
Supplementary and therapeutic feeding
720,000
151,864
Denmark
25
536,136
32,000
UK
Education/Protection
100,000
23,000
UK
53
47,000
30,000
German Natcom*
Non-food items
545,000
105,000
UK
80
105,615
130,000
German Natcom*
204,385
Norway
Management/logistics
940,000
22,050
UK
7
869,439
19,032
German Natcom*
29,479
Denmark
Administrative costs (5 %)
180,750
180,750
Total
3,795,750
1,666,018
43
2,129,732

* UNICEF National Committee

In addition to the above contributions, the Irish government has committed US$ 267,307 against the Emergency Programme.

4. IMPACT OF UNDERFUNDING AND CURRENT PRIORITIES

UNICEF has been able to pre-position basic supplies, start the implementation as planned and recruit some of the required staff. However, additional resources are still required to implement all activities of the emergency plan and to take ongoing activities to a larger scale to prevent further casualties and to mitigate the effects of displacement on children's wellbeing. During the field work of the emergency officer and the IDP Interagency Mission, it was concluded that the number of IDPs, particularly in Herat, is increasing at such a rapid pace (1,500 people arriving daily) that the programme for water and sanitation and shelter needs to be accelerated. Under-funding may prevent UNICEF from fulfilling its core corporate commitments, with an increased risk of disease, acute malnutrition and deaths of IDP children. Therefore nutrition, shelter and water and sanitation are indicated as the priority areas for funding.

PRIORITY REQUIREMENTS AS OF MAY 2001
Project
Beneficiaries/coverage
Amount Required (US$)
1. Nutrition (supplementary and therapeutic feeding) 6,000 malnourished children under 5 years 536,136
2. Shelter (1,500 tents) IDP families sharing tents in camps in Herat and Mazar 105,615
3. Water and sanitation 32,000 IDPs (children, women and men) 300,000 (in addition to the budget already allocated to meet increased needs)

In addition to the above priority requirements, there is an urgent need for 20,000 tents (apart from the 1,500 mentioned above), which can be fulfilled either by cash contributions or by donations-in-kind. For this, UNHCR has committed for 10,000 tents.

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Details of the UNICEF Afghanistan Programme can be obtained from:

Eric Laroche
UNICEF Country Office
Afghanistan
Tel: 92 51 221948-51
Fax: 92 51 212836
E-mail: elaroche@unicef.org

Robin Medforth-Mills
UNICEF EMOPS
Geneva
Tel: + 41 22 909 5554
Fax: + 41 22 909 5902
E-mail:rmmills@unicef.org

Dan Rohrmann
UNICEF PFO
New York
Tel: + 1 212 326 7009
Fax: + 1 212 326 7165
E-mail drohrmann@unicef.org

For more information, visit the UNICEF website at http://www.unicef.org