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ICRC activities in Kabul




 Economic Security Programs  

 The assistance programs, comprising of Economic Security, Agriculture and WatHab, primarily focus on food and non food assistance, agricultural and veterinary projects, and sanitation activities  


During March and up until the 5th of April, the ICRC completed the last distribution round of the Kabul vulnerable program. This program provided food and non food assistance to widow-headed and disabled-headed families in Kabul city.

In total, 21,328 families received wheat grain (60 kg to widow-headed households and 75 kg to disabled-headed households), 30 Kg of rice, 15 Kg of split peas, 13.5 Kg Ghee, 3 pieces of body soap and 5 pieces of laundry soap.

The ICRC has been implementing this program for the last 6 years. The decision to stop it has in part been motivated by the need to focus more on programs which will help people develop their own economic security to enable them to be more reliant on their own means and therefore less dependent on external aid.

Rehabilitation of irrigation systems through Food for Work programs, as well as the distribution of seeds, fertilizers and agricultural tools, continue. These actions have the same objective of increasing household economic security.

As from March, the kitchen garden income-generating project has been expanded to boost the nutritional supplementary capacity of the beneficiary population of 8,505 households selected from Kabul's vulnerable inhabitants.

The ongoing nutritional situation in Kabul, and the country at large, is actively monitored either directly or through consultation with other organizations reviewing the situation. Possible alternative programs are under review against the risk of a deterioration in nutritional status. If implemented, these alternative programs would be adjuncts to other programs currently being run by the United Nations agencies and other humanitarian aid organizations.


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 Agricultural Rehabilitation Program  


 The ICRC supports the agriculture rehabilitation program for the aim to decrease dependency of the farmers from external assistance.  

ICRC achieving the above mentioned aims rehabilitates traditional irrigation systems, distributes large scale seeds and seedlings and agro tools, provides essential pest control techniques, conducts training programs, ...

Apart of its activities in other parts of the country, the ICRC agro department provided its rehabilitation assistance in Dehsabz and Bagrami , districts of Kabul province.

During the first three months of 2001, this department provided the following assistance to the farmers:

  • rehabilitation work on 3 karezes is going on,

  • totally 27'500 fruit and 40'800 forest trees were distributed in Chardehi, Bagrami, Dehsabz and Chaharasiab districts of Kabul city,

  •  1'020 kg vegetable seeds together with 1700 agro tools were distributed in Dehsabz and Chahardehi districts,

  •  100 kg potatoes for seed was distributed for each 150 families in mentioned districts,

  • an amount of improved wheat seeds, fertilizers and second crops distribution is underway. 


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 Health program  


 Initially specializing in surgical assistance to the war wounded, the ICRC Health Programs now vary from emergency medical treatment to providing a wide range of services and materials  .  

In Afghanistan the ICRC provides supports for six hospitals and many other health structures all over the country in close collaboration with local authorities. This includes providing of medication, medical and surgical equipment, basic rehabilitation, water and sanitation, training of professional staff, allowance and running costs, supports first aid posts on both sides of the front lines with dressing kets, visits the detainees with the traditional framework of prison activities by its health staff.

Two out of six ICRC supported hospital are located in Kabul; the Kart-e-seh and Wazir Akbar Khan hospitals. Surgical wards of theses hospitals are fully supported by the ICRC.


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 Water/Habitat Program  

Water Sanitation and Habitat is environmental project in Kabul aimed to reduce incidence of oral - faecal diseases through the improvement of the traditional latrines and to increase the availability of clean water constructing tube wells equipped with hand pumps. The latrines construction activities consists of supporting the construction of ventilated dry latrines. The main improvement is the faeces remain in a closed chamber and don't flow in the street as it is often the case with the traditional latrines. The impact of health is explained to the population in educational health sessions with the authorities of the district. So far this department constructed/rehabilitated 249 wells in 15 districts of Kabul city and improved totally 42'499 latrines in 7 districts of Kabul city.

Since the beginning of the year, 2001 Wat/Hab department started to rehabilitate water supply network  of Chehelstoon and improve the sanitation system of Tahia-e-Maskan sewage system in Kabul city.  Meanwhile Community Health Education sessions  were held for  1234 person   and school Health Education sessions for 569 students in 15 schools .


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 Orthopedic Services  

the ICRC has opened its orthopedic center for disabled people, in 1988 in Kabul. This cente r together with four others in sub/delegations produces prostheses, orthoses, crutches, wheelchairs, tends to the shattered limbs of growing children, counsels amputees and trains them in the use of artificial limbs. In short they provide what must be one of the more complete humanitarian service to a large category of war victims.

Kabul orthopedic center, as other ICRC ortho centers organizes transport, accommodation and treatment of disabled living in remote area, where no facility exist.

In addition to that, the ICRC under its Home-care Programme in Kabul is helping paralyzed persons to find ways to have as normal life as possible within their communities. The programme is currently assisting 403 individuals in Kabul city. The home-care team visits him/her once a week, or once or twice a month, provides the victim's family with food rations fro three months at a time and gives the patients the opportunity to take out small loans aimed at enabling him/her to start some type of small business.

In order to integrate disabled in the society, the ICRC orthopedic center has launched a " Social Economical Rehabilitation of Disabled " project where different categories of disabled receive supports from this center. In the first 3 months of 2001, 107 disabled have received loans to run small commercial activities, such as; shoe repairing, watch repairing, tailoring,... , chosen by them and approved by the ICRC. In addition to that, this project gives opportunity to disabled to go to schools, benefit from vocational training programs and to find job through its Job-centre.

Kabul orthopaedic center provided the following activities In the first three months of 2001:

 New patients registered:   675  

 Prosthese made:    274  

 Orthoses made:    795  

 Crutches made (pair)   1'205  

 Wheelchairs made    137  

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 Detention - Protection Activities  

Visits to people detained because of violence, conflicts and wars are among the most traditional activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The purely humanitarian purpose of these visits is to assess the situation of detainees. To this end, the delegates follow standard procedures implemented worldwide, which include the registration of prisoners and private talks between delegates and prisoners. Interviews with the detaining authorities, the delegates own observations are further sources of information. All information collected is treated in a strictly confidential manner. After a visit, ICRC delegates share their findings in a constructive way with the detaining authorities onl y, with recommendations on how to improve the treatment and the living conditions of detained people.

The very aim of ICRC's approach to assistance remained to help the authorities to tackle the most dangerous diseases, like upper respiratory diseases (pneumonia) in the winter and the outbreak of water born diseases (like diarrhea) during the warm season.

 The ICRC detention department visited military and political prisoners in Pul-e-Charkhi prisons and other detention places in Kabul and provided them with required assistance in accordance with the ICRC modalities worldwide.  


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The ICRC has developed and implemented the Red Cross Messages Network in close collaboration with the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS). This postal system in time of conflict has its base the RCM- a kind of open letter that all parties accept and retain the right to check. The RCM is uniquely for family members seeking contact, in search of news and whereabouts of missing family members but in exceptions they can be used to contact close friends.

Inside Afghanistan, the RCMs are collected in places of detention by ICRC delegates. For civilians, RCMs are collecte d and distributed by local branches of the ARCS. Outside Afghanistan, the RCMs are distributed either by the ICRC when it is active in the country or through the respective National Red Crescent or Red Cross Society.

 Red Cross Messages Service in the first 3 months of 2001:  


 Collected from detainees: 496  

 Distributed to the detainees: 380  

 Collected from civilians: 40  

 Distributed to the civilians: 65  

 Collected through ARCS from civilians: 460  

 Distributed through ARCS to civilians: 560  

 Back to detainees: 40  

 Back to the civilians: 64  


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 Communication Programs  

In Afghanistan, ICRC carries out an ongoing dialogue and various dissemination activities with a wide range of publics. These target groups include: governing bodies and local authorities, commanders and arms carriers, academics and students, the beneficiaries of ICRC actions, national and regional media and local ICRC and ARCS personnel. Methods of dissemination vary from direct dialogue to seminars and workshops, carrying out research and managing campaigns, publication and distribution of various texts and promotional materials and participation in educational initiatives, such as the BBC radio drama 'New Home, New Life'.  

Radios are good means for communication where other mean are not existed or population can not reach them. Therefore to communicate the International Humanitarian Law's messages and to promote the general public awareness regarding this law, the ICRC initiated a Radio program with cooperation of ARCS in Mazar-e-Sharif. This program, called " In the Fold of Humanity " , will be soon broadcast by Kabul Radio Voice of Shariat as well.


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 Cooperation Programs  

The ICRC Cooperation programs   aim to strengthen the capacities of the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), including its nationwide branch network, to assist the most vulnerable populations affected directly and indirectly by conflict. The ICRC supports a network of Tracing and Dissemination field officers in all 30 branches of the National Society. In cooperation with the Red Cross Society of the Netherlands and the ARCS, 5 Marastoons (literally'place of aid') are fully supported by the ICRC in their food and nonfood requirements. The Afghan Red Crescent (ARCS) offers such a shelter to the most vulnerable amongst the Afghan population. Widows and their children, orphans, physically handicapped and mentally ill find a place in one of the five Marastoons of the ARCS. The Marastoon offers also education and a vocational training program for the children and the widows in order to enable their eventual return into society. In February of this year the Kabul Marastoon inaugurated a new residence which could offer shelter for an additional 40 families. The building was constructed with the funds made available by the South Korean Red Cross.

The ICRC has signed 9 bilateral and one Tri-partied agreements with the ARCS, for 2001, to run their various programs in the country.


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 Mine data collection program  

Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mine- and UXO (unexploded ordnance) affected countries in the world, hindering its economic development and posing a serious threat to the livelihood of its inhabitants.

In 1998, the ICRC started to interview new victims in 36 health facilities all over Afghanistan with 1 expatriate and 2 local staff, in order to find dangerous areas, assess the victim behavior leading to their accident, the injuries suffered and the medical treatment received. This data is shared with the UN Mine Action Program (MAPA), which gets over 70% of its data on new victims from ICRC and uses it to set priorities in surveying, demining and mine awareness training for the 4,800 persons working in Mine Action in Afghanistan.

As the victims were mostly recorded in ICRC supported and non-supported hospitals in major towns, almost none of the victims with light or fatal injuries were visited. Therefore data collection was started in 46 clinics supported by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as well as the hospitals and clinics of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), Aide Médicale Internationale (AMI), Ibn Sina, HealthNet and Norwegian Assistance Committee - all together over 230 health structures - to achieve a better coverage of the countryside.

Presently 1 expatriate and 8 Afghan national staff are working for the Mine Data Collection Program (MDCP) in Kabul and one field officer in each of the 6 ICRC sub-delegations and offices. The range of activities covers interviewing mine- and UXO victims in hospitals and clinics, giving training courses in data collection to medical staff and provincial supervisors of partner organisations, and using the MDC P database, containing over 2,400 victims, to produce analysis', statistics and reports.


 Published by ICRC Communication Department Kabul, March 2001  

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