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Afghanistan - ICRC Relief Activities - February 2002

30-05-2002 Operational Update

Since September 2001, the ICRC Afghanistan has reached more than one million individuals, with distribution of more than 17,700 MT of food and over 245,000 non-food items.

Following the events of 11 September, the ICRC temporarily scaled down its relief activities. However, with an extensive pre-positioning of food for 80,000 families and non-food items for 50,000 families, it was possible from November onwards to quickly resume full scale operation, and expand the operational area according to needs. In February 2002 alone, the ICRC reached more than 200,000 individuals or 30,000 families.
 
The ICRC focuses on the most vulnerable populations. The bulk of the assistance is distributed in the central mountainous region of Afghanistan (Ghor, Samangan, Balkh and Bamyan), which has been severely affected both by conflict and drought. Furthermore, vulnerable populations in the main cities are assisted.
 
 Summary
 

 Since September 2001, the ICRC Afghanistan has reached more than one million individuals, with distribution of more than 17,700 MT of food and over 245,000 non-food items.
 

 Ghor – Preventing economic migration  

Ghor province, located in the central, mountainous region of Afghanistan has been severely affected by conflict, and since 1998 by a severe drought. The conflict and the drought has led to a widespread migration from Ghor. In August 2001, the ICRC initiated food distributions with the aim of enabling the population to remain in Ghor, and not being for ced to become internally displaced or refugees. From September 2001 to February 2002, the ICRC reached more than 374,000 individuals, and distributed more than   8,100   MT of food, that required more than 800 truck loads or 540 plane rotations.
 

 Mazar-i-Sharif – Mitigating the effects of conflict and drought  

Prior to September, the Southern districts of Samangan, Sar-i-Pul and Balkh Provinces, were virtually under an embargo, and very few supplies were available to the population. Furthermore, the area was severely affect by drought. In December 2001, the ICRC began distributing assistance to approximately 18,500 families in Balkh, 14,500 families in Samangan, and 7,800 families in Sar-I-Pul, mainly in the Southern parts of the provinces. These distributions were completed in February. Each targeted household is supplied with a three week ration of Wheat Grain, Split Peas and Ghee (oil). In total, more than 285,000 individuals received assistance.
 
In additions, support has been given to IDP populations in camps in and around Mazar-i-Sharif. These populations rely heavily on humanitarian assistance, and were in a difficult position following the temporary withdrawal of most of the humanitarian agencies from the area in September. The ICRC has distributed close to 1,700 MT of food and 55,000 non-food items to the IDP populations since November 2001, reaching more than 100,000 individuals.
 

 Bamyan- Assisting Vulnerable ethnic groups  

In December, the ICRC launched an operation for conflict and drought affected populations in Bamyan province. Prior to September, the Bamyan populations, mainly Hazara, was heavily affected by the conflict, and acce ss to the province was difficult for security reasons.
 
The ICRC targets the entire population of Bamyan province, approximately 15,000 households. The first round of food and non-food distribution was completed in January 2002, benefitting a total of 12,950 families. More than 2,000 MT of food and 55,000 non-food items such as pressure cookers, blankets, tarpaulins and jerry cans were distributed to over 90,000 individuals.
 

 Kabul - Helping the most vulnerable  

Kabul is among the most war ravaged cities in Afghanistan. After 20 years of fighting, life in the densely populated southern districts has become more and more difficult for average people. In addition, the winter season further complicates the lives of the already destitute citizens. Three groups of vulnerable were targeted:

  • Winterisation: The ICRC launched an winterisation programme for 10’000 extremely destitute families (approximately 70,000 individuals). Distributions began in December 2001 and were completed in in February 2002. Each household has been provided with one sandali (a low table placed in the centre of the room with a slow-burning charcoal fire underneath), two bags of charcoals (100 kg), two blankets and a sheet of plastic.

  • Disabled: During October and November 2001, the ICRC carried out an extraordinary food distribution for close to 8,000 disabled head of households and vulnerable households. More than 1,200 MT of food (rice, split peas and ghee) was distributed

  • Bomb affected: Between October and November 2001, the ICRC carried out a survey to identify the households affected by the bombardments in Kabul. The assistance was then delivered according to the level of destruction inflicted on their residences. Most of the househ olds were provided with shelter material, and windows to replace shuttered ones. In some cases, food rations were delivered to cover their immediate necessities.
     

 Key figures  

  • Apart from the main delegation in Kabul, the ICRC has 5 sub delegations, 5 offices, and four logistics centers (Peshawar/Pakistan, Mashad/Iran, Dushanbe/Tajikistan and Turkmenabad/Turkmenistan).

  • Staff: ICRC has close to 140 expatriate delegates in Afghanistan and more than 1’000 local staff.

  • ICRC Afghanistan operates approximately 35 trucks, and more than 120 light vehicles.

  • The Afghanistan delegation has 4 planes (two beach crafts, one Hercules and an Antonov 74) operating out of Peshawar and Mashad.