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Afghanistan: facts and figures 2013

11-02-2014 Facts and Figures

A round-up of activities carried out by the ICRC in Afghanistan in 2013.

Visiting detainees and maintaining family contact

The ICRC visits detainees in Afghanistan and other countries around the world to monitor the conditions in which they are held and the treatment they receive. ICRC delegates regularly visit prisons run by the Afghan authorities, by nations contributing to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and by US forces. The ICRC also helps family members separated by conflict to stay in touch with one another, and endeavours to trace missing persons.

In 2013, the ICRC:

  • carried out 173 visits to 80 places of detention holding 49,490 detainees;
  • individually monitored 3,053 detainees arrested in connection with the conflict or the security situation, and visited 1,441 of them for the first time;
  • paid transport costs so that 30 ex-detainees could return home, including six foreigners going back to their home countries;
  • collected over 16,460 Red Cross messages and distributed more than 15,500, mostly between detainees and their families, with the help of the Afghan Red Crescent Society;
  • installed phone booths in places of detention and in ICRC sub-delegations around the country, which were used by families to make almost 6,150 telephone calls to their detained relatives;
  • provided transport and made arrangements for family members to make nearly 5,100 visits to relatives held in the Parwan facilities;
  • received 963 allegations of arrest and 185 tracing requests from abroad, of which 949 allegations of arrest and 14 tracing cases were resolved positively;
  • arranged for the remains of 620 people killed on the battlefield to be handed over to their next-of-kin. The remains of five unidentified people were given a dignified burial.

Providing health care

The ICRC maintained its support for the 420-bed Mirwais Regional Hospital in Kandahar by providing it with drugs, medical equipment and consumables. Diagnostics, and critical services such as surgery, obstetrics and paediatrics, continued in line with the "essential package of hospital services" of the Ministry of Public Health.

Afghanistan. Kandahar, Mirwais hospital. Afghan surgeons operate on a young patient suffering from burns following a gas explosion. 

Afghanistan. Kandahar, Mirwais hospital. Afghan surgeons operate on a young patient suffering from burns following a gas explosion.
© ICRC / Jacob Simkin / v-p-af-e-02096

The ICRC also continued to support the 150-bed Sheberghan Hospital, in north-western Afghanistan, by providing it with pharmaceuticals, consumables and medical equipment, and with such items and services as stationery, cleaning materials, fuel, oxygen, and the printing of hospital forms. The ICRC also helped maintain and repair equipment and conducted quarterly assessments of laboratory facilities in these two hospitals.

In 2013, Mirwais and Sheberghan hospitals admitted more than 52,000 inpatients and saw over 264,000 outpatients between them. A total of 16,253 operations were performed in the two hospitals.

In 2013, the ICRC:

  • Made 52 ad-hoc deliveries of medical supplies in emergency situations to hospitals across the country to treat people injured in the fighting;
  • provided technical and financial support and medicines to 44 Afghan Red Crescent clinics and to community-based health and first-aid volunteers who provide care for people in conflict-affected areas;
  • provided first-aid training for 2,700 national security forces, local police and Ministry of Public Health personnel and taxi drivers who take the wounded to hospital;
  • made monthly deliveries of medical and other supplies to a health centre in the east of the country.

In 2013, 44 ICRC-supported Afghan Red Crescent clinics:

  • Saw almost 990,000 outpatients
  • vaccinated nearly 478,000 people

Providing limb-fitting and physical rehabilitation services 

Afghanistan. Kabul, ICRC Orthopaedic Centre. A woman who lost her leg in shelling in Kabul, where she was planning to study to become a doctor, has kept her dreams alive by becoming a nurse at Aliabad hospital. 

Afghanistan. Kabul, ICRC Orthopaedic Centre. A woman who lost her leg in shelling in Kabul, where she was planning to study to become a doctor, has kept her dreams alive by becoming a nurse at Aliabad hospital.
© ICRC / Jacob Simkin / v-p-af-e-02046

Since 1988, the ICRC has been involved in limb-fitting and rehabilitation activities and social reintegration of disabled people, from landmine victims to those with motor impairment. The organization runs prosthetic/orthotic centres in Kabul, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, Gulbahar, Faizabad and Lashkar Gah, and a home-care service providing patients with spinal cord injuries and their families with medical, economic and social support.

In 2013, the ICRC:

  • registered more than 8,900 new patients, including 1,203 amputees;
  • assisted 94,868 patients;
  • fitted 17,007 prostheses and orthotic devices;
  • held more than 248,400 physiotherapy sessions;
  • granted micro-credit loans to 683 patients to help them start small business ventures;
  • provided vocational training for 144 patients; 63 of whom completed their training;
  • conducted 7,706 home visits to treat 1,529 patients with spinal cord injuries and provide their families with support.

Distributing food and other aid

In 2013, in partnership with the Afghan Red Crescent, the ICRC provided emergency food and other aid for over 80,000 people displaced by conflict or natural disaster.

Afghanistan. South of the country, Helmand province, Lashkar Gah, ICRC office. The warehouse stores emergency medical kits, food, shelter and sanitation material. 

Afghanistan. South of the country, Helmand province, Lashkar Gah, ICRC office. The warehouse stores emergency medical kits, food, shelter and sanitation material.
© ICRC / Sean Maguire / v-p-af-e-01949

Working with local communities, the ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent organized 325 projects to improve irrigation channels, protection walls, water gates and other infrastructure. The improvements enabled people to better protect and cultivate their land, which should in turn help them to increase their food production and income. Over 10,000 vulnerable people who worked as labourers on the projects were rewarded with food or cash, which helped them meet some of their basic needs.

During the same period, some 1,200 needy households headed by women in 24 northern Afghan villages were given chicks, feed and other items, and training in poultry management by the ICRC. The aid will enable them to increase their food production and earn some income for their households.

In the central and southern regions of Afghanistan, the ICRC trains and equips livestock farmers to improve their animals' health. In 2013, training sessions in animal husbandry were held for 940 livestock farmers from rural communities. Each farmer also received animal feed concentrate and other basic supplies. Additionally, to improve the health and productivity of livestock, the ICRC worked with 74 animal-health workers from local communities and provided them with veterinary medicines and other supplies needed to cure animals of worms and treat livestock illnesses. In all, animals belonging to over 34,000 families were cleared of parasites.

Improving water and sanitation services

Afghanistan. South of the country, Helmand province, Lashkar Gah. Afgan army soldiers receive first aid training from the ICRC. 

Afghanistan. South of the country, Helmand province, Lashkar Gah. Afgan army soldiers receive first aid training from the ICRC.
© ICRC / Sean Maguire / v-p-af-e-01907

The ICRC works closely with local water boards in Afghanistan on urban and rural projects, and also promotes hygiene awareness in prisons, detention centres and youth centres.

In 2013, the ICRC:

  • installed or renovated water supply systems and drilled wells as part of an effort to bring clean water to over 73,000 people in urban areas of Faryab, Kandahar, Nangarhar and Herat provinces;
  • installed hand pumps, and trained people to maintain them, in order to bring clean water to over 310,000 people in rural areas of  Parwan, Bamyan, Ghazni, Kapisa, Khost, Panjsher, Nangharhar, Herat, Badghis, Farah, Kunduz, Balkh and Faryab  provinces;
  • started holding hygiene-promotion sessions and distributing hygiene supplies for guards and detainees in detention places throughout Afghanistan holding 25,800 people;
  • began an effort to improve water supplies and sanitary conditions for 17,000 detainees in 16 places of detention;
  • continued renovation and construction work at the 420 -bed Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar.

Promoting compliance with international humanitarian law

Reminding warring parties of their obligation to protect civilians is a fundamental part of the ICRC's efforts to promote compliance with international humanitarian law worldwide. The ICRC also spreads knowledge of international humanitarian law among civil-society groups, government bodies and academics.

In 2013, the ICRC:

  • held briefings on its mandate and work for over 12,500 people, including members of civil society, community elders, religious scholars, members of provincial councils, political authorities, NGOs, people receiving ICRC aid, and personnel of the national army, the national police, local police units, the National Directorate of Security, and the armed opposition;
  • held six train-the-trainer courses for 253 national army and police instructors in international humanitarian law;
  • held 230 two-hour sessions on international humanitarian law for 9,200 personnel of the national army, the national and local police, the National Directorate of Security, the armed opposition and private security companies.

Working in partnership with the Afghan Red Crescent Society

The ICRC works closely with the Afghan Red Crescent and provides it with technical and financial assistance to help it deliver services to the community and implement a range of humanitarian programmes.

In 2013:

  • the ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent carried out joint activities based on the signed partnership framework agreement for 2013 covering nine projects;
  • the Afghan Red Crescent completed the registration of 21,000 volunteers in 34 branches, and recruited more than 1,000 new volunteers in Khost and Paktiya provinces to support its humanitarian activities;
  • representatives of government ministries, national security, the attorney general, and a private hospital association attended an information session on the red cross and red crescent emblems.