Afghanistan: summary of ICRC activities from January to September 2012
08-10-2012 Operational Update
Visiting places of detention and restoring family links
The ICRC regularly visits prisons run by nations contributing to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, by US forces and by the Afghan authorities. These visits also help separated family members stay in touch, and play a role in the tracing of missing persons.
Since the beginning of 2012, ICRC staff have:
- made 249 visits to 97 places of detention;
- monitored 2,917 detainees individually and visited 1,167 of them for the first time;
- paid travel expenses for 27 ex-detainees to return to their home villages;
- collected over 14,525 Red Cross messages and distributed nearly 15,700, mostly between detainees and their families, with the help of the Afghan Red Crescent Society;
- enabled families of people held in the Detention Facility in Parwan and in the Afghan National Detention Facility in Parwan to make 3,705 video telephone calls to their detained relatives;
- enabled families to make 3,104 visits to relatives held in the Parwan facilities, by providing transport for them.
Providing health care
The ICRC provides medicines and medical support to Sheberghan Hospital in the north and Mirwais Regional Hospital in the south, both run by the Ministry of Public Health. In addition, it provides 47 Afghan Red Crescent clinics with technical and financial support, medicines and medical supplies. The ICRC supplies first-aid kits and other medical supplies in front-line areas, together with first-aid training for fighters and civilians, so that they can treat the wounded.
Since the beginning of 2012, Mirwais and Sheberghan Hospitals have admitted 24,705 inpatients and held 88,597 outpatient consultations between them. Mirwais Hospital performed almost 8,000 operations over the same period.
In addition, the ICRC:
- provided first-aid training for 1,846 fighters, members of the Afghan National Security Forces, personnel of the Afghan Local Police, Ministry of Public Health personnel and taxi drivers (who often have to take casualties to hospital);
- made monthly deliveries of drugs and other items to three ICRC-run local health posts in the south and east.
Providing physical rehabilitation services
Through seven prosthetic/orthotic centres throughout Afghanistan, the ICRC provides physical rehabilitation services for amputees and others with disabilities. Some centres help disabled people reintegrate into society through vocational training, micro-credit loans and home education for children. Some patients, especially paraplegics, receive care at home, along with medical, economic and social support.
From January to September, the seven ICRC centres:
- registered over 5,700 new patients, including 833 amputees;
- assisted 59,293 patients;
- fitted almost 10,700 prostheses and orthotic devices;
- held over 171,800 physiotherapy sessions;
- granted micro-credit loans to 530 patients so they could start small businesses;
- provided vocational training for nearly 250 patients, 205 of whom completed their training;
- conducted 5,171 home visits to treat patients with spinal cord injuries.
Distributing food and other aid
Working closely with the Afghan Red Crescent Society, the ICRC distributes food and other items to people affected by conflict or natural disaster. Food-for-work projects in various provinces enable breadwinners to support their families, whilst training programmes for livestock owners provide basic veterinary skills.
So far this year, the ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent have:
- distributed 359 tonnes of wheat, rice and beans to 4,945 families of participants in food-for-work projects;
- distributed one-month food rations and household items to 21,118 families displaced by conflict or natural disaster;
- distributed two-month-old chicks to 667 women in eastern and northern Afghanistan to help them support their families by raising chickens. The women also received chicken feed, and basic equipment such as water drinkers and feeders for their poultry;
- held training sessions for 680 livestock owners to help improve animal husbandry in the south and central regions;
- granted micro-credit loans to 1,366 households to help them improve the quality of their agriculture production and livestock.
Improving water and sanitation services
Working in support of local water boards, the ICRC helps bring safe water to both rural and urban communities by drilling wells, installing pipelines and training communities in hand-pump maintenance. The ICRC also helps prison authorities improve standards of hygiene and sanitation in places of detention.
Between January and September, the ICRC:
- installed pipelines and drilled wells, bringing clean water to over 65,000 people in urban areas of Jalalabad, Herat, Farah and Kandahar provinces;
- installed hand pumps, trained people to maintain them, and upgraded spring catchments as part of an effort to bring clean water to almost 266,000 people in rural areas of Kabul, Kapisa, Parwan, Bamyan, Paktia, Khost, Ghazni, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar and Kunduz provinces;
- carried out hygiene-promotion sessions for some 26,000 people in Kabul, Herat, Farah, Laghman, Jalalabad, Kunduz and Balkh (Mazar-i-Sharif);
- helped improve water supplies and sanitary conditions for 8,300 detainees in 12 provincial prisons;
- continued renovation work at Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar.
Promoting compliance with international humanitarian law
As part of its dialogue with parties to the conflict, the ICRC reminds them of their obligation to protect civilians and other war victims by promoting compliance with international humanitarian law. The organization also promotes international humanitarian law among armed and security forces, civil-society groups, government bodies and universities.
Between January and September 2012, the ICRC:
- gave presentations on international humanitarian law to almost 3,000 members of the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and local police units, the National Directorate of Security and armed opposition groups;
- held briefings about its mandate and work for over 17,300 people, including community elders, religious scholars, members of provincial councils, political authorities, NGOs, the Afghan Red Crescent and beneficiaries of ICRC assistance programmes.
Working in partnership with the Afghan Red Crescent Society
The ICRC provides the Afghan Red Crescent Society with technical and financial assistance to help it deliver services to the community and to implement a range of programmes.
Between January and September, with support from the ICRC, the Afghan Red Crescent Society distributed food, household items, seed, fertilizer and tools to families affected by the conflict in a number of regions.
Afghanistan is the ICRC's biggest operation in terms of resources, with a budget of 89 million Swiss francs for 2012. The organization has more than 1,650 national staff and 140 expatriates based at its main delegation in Kabul and in five sub-delegations and 11 offices countrywide. In addition, it operates seven prosthetic/orthotic centres.
For further information, please contact:
Robin Waudo, ICRC Kabul, tel: +93 700 282 719
Abdul Hassib Rahimi, ICRC Kabul, tel: +93 700 276 465
Bijan Farnoudi, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 21 80 or +41 79 536 92 59