Afghanistan

UNICEF Humanitarian Action: Afghanistan Programme Donor Update 30 Apr 2002

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published


CONSOLIDATING PREVIOUS GAINS, EXPANDING PROGRAMMES

  • Polio NIDs vaccinate around 6 million children under the age of five
  • UNICEF supports returning refugees in education, primary health care, water & sanitation
  • Conference on water resource management seeks a vision for the sector

1. EMERGENCY OVERVIEW AND CURRENT SITUATION

Refugees return home, UNICEF, UNHCR and other agencies gear up their assistance

More than 300,000 Afghans have returned home from Pakistan and Iran in less than eight weeks since UNHCR began assisting refugees to return to their country in coordination with neighbouring governments and the Afghanistan Interim Authority. Working closely with the Interim Administration, UNHCR, UN Agencies and other NGO partners, UNICEF is focusing on the area of education, including the pre-positioning of teaching and learning materials, social mobilisation campaigns and supporting the Ministry of Education to establish policy guidelines on registration, certification and evaluation of returning students and teachers. UNICEF is also supporting water and sanitation activities in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), drought affected areas and areas of refugee return. The assistance includes the digging of wells; installation of water pumps; provision of water tanks and jerry cans, water purification tablets and chlorine; installation of latrines and social mobilisation activities. In the health sector, UNICEF is working with UNHCR to ensure that all returnees have access to immunization, emergency obstetrics and basic health services

Flash floods cause havoc in western Afghanistan

A day of heavy rain in Badghis province in western Afghanistan caused havoc in the Qala-i-Nawand and Ab Kamari districts on April 23. A flash flood destroyed 500 houses and more than a thousand people were adversely affected. Local authorities reported two dead and several others missing. Several trucks carrying returnees from Iran and Herat were blocked and surrounding roads were destroyed. Although severely damaged, the road between Herat and Qala-i-Naw is still passable. The rain has now stopped and water levels have gradually subsided. Under the coordination of the acting Governor of Qala-i-Naw, humanitarian agencies acted quickly to respond to the crisis by providing food, shelter, clothing and medical supplies from in-country stocks.

2. UNICEF RESPONSE: ACTIVITIES, ACHIEVEMENTS AND CONSTRAINTS

Education for refugee/IDP returnees

Following the successful launch of the Back-to-School campaign on 23 March 2002, education for refugees/returnees/IDPs has become one of the priorities. UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Education in this area by helping to:

  • Set-up a coordination mechanism with partners working on education for refugees/returnees/IDPs (UNICEF, UNHCR, UNESCO, IOM, NGOs);

  • Develop a policy guideline on certification and evaluation of returnee students and teachers;

  • Launch a public information and advocacy campaign on returnee education by disseminating printed material and establishing an information network in UNHCR encashment centres to raise awareness on the reintegration of refugees/returnees/IDP students and teachers in the education system;

  • Establish a process of data collection and of monitoring education for returnees in the framework of the school assessment and in close cooperation with UNCHR;

  • Provide basic learning material and tents to areas where returnees are resettled (e.g. Shomali Plains).

Second school assessment underway

With the reopening of the school year on 23 March, there is a need to assess the impact of the campaign and its implications for planning and implementing the second phase of the back-to-school campaign. UNICEF is therefore conducting a second rapid assessment of learning spaces across the country. These include government, home-based, community and NGO-run schools. The objectives are to update and expand the existing database on number of schools, students, and teachers; monitor supply distribution/receipt; assess damage to buildings, water and sanitation facilities; and determine the presence of landmines/UXOs. A draft summary report is expected to be ready by mid-May.

Towards a polio-free Afghanistan

The first round of national polio immunisation days (NIDs) for the whole country took place between the 16 and 18 of April. Some 5.8 million children under the age of five were targeted as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (a collaborative effort between UNICEF, WHO and the Afghan Ministry of Public Health). Preliminary results show that coverage rates were over 100%. For the first time, female vaccinators made up a substantial proportion of the vaccination teams (some 15-50%). What used to be all-male events in small rooms of public hospitals became festive public marches and rallies with speeches by leading figures of authority. Approximately 40,000 Afghans participated in the NIDs-vaccinators, social mobilisers, district coordinators, supervisors and monitors. UNICEF mobilised its entire office to monitor and support districts in the campaign.

One of the key issues for polio virus interruption will be the return of refugees, The 11 confirmed cases of polio in 2001 were from southern and south-eastern border regions and the virus was likely to have been imported from Pakistan where transmission is higher due to higher population concentrations. NID dates in Afghanistan will continue to be synchronized with dates in Pakistan for 2002 and more than 40 border posts have been set up to vaccinate returnees as they cross.

Surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis is now back to levels that reach international standards in all parts of the country including Kandahar where surveillance had been adversely affected by the conflict. Four cases of AFP have been reported in Kandahar this year, which is the expected baseline, indicating that the surveillance system is fully functioning again. In 2002, UNICEF will support surveillance activities in remote areas such as Badakshan where international staff dedicated to this task has not previously been placed. The Centre of Disease Control (Atlanta) STOP teams will also be deployed through UNICEF in the second half of the year to strengthen both AFP and measles surveillance.

The next round of NIDs is scheduled for 27-29 May 2002. There will be two more NIDs in 2002 (October and November). UNICEF is providing 6.9 million doses of vaccine for every round as well as more than 16,000 vaccine carriers and 1,500 cold boxes. Hundreds of animals, cars and motorcycles are used for the operation, many rented with UNICEF support, and others lent by NGOs and UN agencies.

Five million children vaccinated against measles

The Measles Morbidity and Mortality Reduction Campaign has reached some 5 million children aged 6 months to 12 years since July 2001, including a campaign initiated two days after the earthquake in northern region in March 2002. The campaign which is currently ongoing in the southern region was temporarily stopped for the duration of the NIDs and will restart at the end of April. A reported outbreak of measles in Urozgan province in southern Afghanistan was investigated by UNICEF health staff and a campaign has been immediately planned for the province. Urozgan has not been accessible during the winter months.

Measles and polio vaccination posts have been set up in over 40 border sites and two encashment areas to ensure coverage of returning refugees.

Conference on Water Resource Management

The past several years have seen indiscriminate, unregulated and uncoordinated water exploitation in Afghanistan. The threeyear drought has also exacerbated this situation. As a result, there has been an alarming drop in the water table. As many as two-thirds of all wells have a low yield or have dried up. The availability and management of water is also key to ensuring food security. The Interim Administration has requested UNICEF’s help to initiate an urgent process, led by the government, to develop a coherent vision for future development of the water and sanitation (WES) sector. A conference is being organised for 29 April to 1 May 2002 in Kabul to review past experiences and the current situation. The aim is to develop a common vision for water resource management and development, come up with suitable institutional options and develop an emergency plan of action for immediate and medium-term rehabilitation of the WES sector.

Addressing nutritional concerns

UNICEF, in conjunction with the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), has produced a standardized nutrition survey instrument available in English and Dari that has been accepted by almost all major agencies and allows comparison of information across the country. Surveys have been completed in Bagdhis and Faryab provinces, Maslak camp in Herat, parts of Bamyan and are planned for Ghor and Kandahar among other locations.

Survey results have consistently shown relatively low rates of acute malnutrition (<10%) but high under 5 mortality rates and very high rates of chronic malnutrition (40-60%). The high under 5 mortality is likely to be due to a combination of communicable diseases, chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency diseases such as scurvy. Food coping strategies, as demonstrated in the Tufts/USAID assessment facilitated by UNICEF, are end-stage strategies involving the selling of livestock and assets.

Where acute malnutrition exists, particularly in the northern, eastern and western regions, UNICEF supports supplementary and therapeutic feeding for children and pregnant and lactating women through 15 PCAs with implementing partners. UNICEF provides foodstuffs, such as blended foods (UNIMIX-more than 1000MT-and Corn Soya Blend) and therapeutic milk (F-100 and F-75), feeding center kits, and technical assistance in designing protocols and monitoring results.

UNICEF is also providing technical assistance to the Rapid Food Needs Assessments in remote areas of Afghanistan, led by WFP and conducted by helicopter. Twenty assessments have been conducted thus far, mainly in the northern region. The next location that UNICEF will assess with WFP is Bamyan province. UNICEF is providing health, nutrition and water/sanitation staff for these assessments.

UNICEF and CDC are currently designing national programmes for iodized salt and the treatment of iron deficiency anaemia among children and women. This builds on the previous pilot projects in Herat and will involve close partnership with the salt production industry.

UNICEF assists victims

UNICEF responded to the flooding in Qala-i-Nawand Ab Kamari districts by immediately sending its NGO partner on the ground, World Vision, 4MTof UNIMIX, 6MT of high protein foodbars, 2,000 blankets, 800 children’s sweaters and 300 family kits. The relief complemented that of other humanitarian agencies such as WHO, MSF, IRC, ICRC and the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan.

3. REQUIREMENTS AND RECEIPTS

Donors contribute 61% of UNICEF’s requirements for 2002

To date UNICEF has received US$ 117 million out of US$ 192 million appealed for under the ITAP. This represents a coverage of 61% of UNICEF’s total financial needs for 2002. The table below gives a detailed summary of contributions, by donor:

DONOR CONTRIBUTIONS/PLEDGES AS OF 30 APRIL 2002
DONOR
RECEIVED (US$)
DONOR
RECEIVED (US$)
Governments & others UNICEF Natcoms
AGFUND
50,000
Andorra
15,933
Andorra
50,000
Australia
120,497
Australia
255,102
Austria
346,226
Belgium
1,545,192
Belgium
158,566
Brunei Darussalam
272,183
Canada
1,261,840
Canada
2,776,370
Czech Republic
18,032
Denmark
3,432,800
Denmark
216,678
ECHO
902,115
Finland
169,065
Finland
1,468,725
France
1,868,115
France
559,960
Germany
5,385,578
Germany
758,209
Hong Kong
100,000
Italy
6,103,630
Hungary
36,000
Japan
27,501,210
Ireland
250,000
Kuwait
450,000
Italy
957,849
Luxembourg
68,290
Japan
12,574,153
Netherlands
10,349,178
Korea
200,000
Norway
924,886
Luxembourg
110,366
Poland
80,046
Netherlands
376,744
Sweden
4,278,600
New Zealand
19,949
UK Govt
11,616,750
Norway
22,754
USA/OFDA-USAID
4,750,000
Poland
37,037
USA/BPRM
6,000,000
Portugal
130,000
American Red Cross
125,000
San Marino
10,212
Rep of Korea (Onnuri Church)
4,300
Slovenia
138,383
UN Assoc. of Canada
200,000
Spain
162,292
UN Women's Guild
11,905
Sweden
105,418
UNICEF Argentina
18,745
United Kingdom
3,408,165
UNICEF Chile
102,630
US Fund
4,536,750
UNICEF Nepal
1,094
UNICEF Thailand
3,280
SUB-TOTAL:
84,660,200
SUB-TOTAL
32,720,669
GRAND TOTAL
117,380,869

In addition, the Norwegian Government has provided donations-in-kind of winterised tents with heaters (US$ 319,000), therapeutic feeding (BP5) (US$ 725,000), Rubbhall warehousing (US$ 105,000), blankets (US$ 307,000), water supplies (US$ 270,000), telecommunications equipment (US$ 761,000), and school tents (US$ 878,000). Additionally, the US Government provided 1,000 rolls of plastic sheeting and 250,000 blankets, and the Korean Government donated US$ 1 million worth of children’s winter clothes and winterised tents.

Details of the UNICEF Afghanistan Programme can be obtained from:

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

David S. Bassiouni
UNICEF EMOPS
Geneva
Tel.: +41 22 909 5503
Fax: +41 22 909 5902
Email: dbassiouni@unicef.org

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