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Afghanistan: ICRC activities during July 2010

18-08-2010 Operational Update

One of the ICRC's most important activities in Afghanistan consists in distributing aid in cooperation with the Afghan Red Crescent to people displaced by armed conflict or natural disaster.

 Distributing food and seed  

During July, the ICRC:

  • distributed nearly 190 metric tonnes of food for 919 participants in food-for-work projects;

  • distributed 1,507 one-month food rations and 614 essential household items to families displaced as a result of armed conflict or natural disaster in 11 provinces;

  • provided training for 40 farmers in animal health, reproduction and feeding, while maintaining a de-worming campaign in their communities.

 Visiting places of detention and restoring family links  

The ICRC regularly visits places of detention run by certain nations contributing to the NATO-commanded International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), US forces and the Afghan authorities. The aim is to monitor conditions of detention and the treatment of detainees. Last year, the ICRC also began visiting people detained by the armed opposition.

The ICRC also helps family members separated by conflict to stay in touch with one another, and endeavours to trace missing relatives with the aim of reuniting families.

During July, ICRC staff:

  • carried out eight visits to eight places of detention;

  • monitored the cases of 249 detainees, visiting 119 of them for the first time;

  • paid the cost of transportation for 12 ex-detainees to return to their home villages;

  • collected 245 Red Cross messages and distributed 826, mostly between detainees and their families, with the support of the Afghan Red Crescent;

  • facilitated 278 video telephone calls between families and relatives held in the US-run Parwan detention facility at Bagram airfield;

  • provided transportation and other support to enable the families of 55 detainees held in the Parwan facility to visit their relatives in person.

 Promoting international humanitarian law  

Reminding parties to a conflict of their obligation to protect civilians is a fundamental part of the ICRC's efforts to promote compliance with international humanitarian law worldwide. The organization also spreads knowledge of international humanitarian law within civil society, government bodies and the armed forces.

During July, the ICRC held:

  • information sessions on international humanitarian law for the national police and the national army that were attended by over 400 personnel;

  • briefings for community elders, members of religious circles, ICRC aid recipients, members of the Afghan Red Crescent, as well as weapon bearers, which were attended by over 1,520 people.


 Providing health care  

The ICRC provides support for Sheberghan Hospital in the north of the country and Mirwais Regional Hospital in the south, both of which are run by the Ministry of Public Health. Eighteen expatriate doctors, nurses and administrative personnel are assigned to support staff at Mirwais. The ICRC also provides technical and financial support for 10 Afghan Red Crescent clinics and for community-based first-aid volunteers who deliver health care to people in conflict zones. In addition, it runs five first-aid posts.

During July, Mirwais and Sheberghan hospitals admitted over 3,900 inpatients and nearly 22,140 outpatients. More than 1,240 surgical operations were performed in the two hospitals. In addition, during the same period, the ICRC:

  • distributed kits at the front lines for treating people injured in the fighting;

  • sponsored first-aid training for 262 new Afghan Red Crescent community-based volunteers.

 Limb-fitting and physical rehabilitation  

The ICRC has been involved in limb-fitting and rehabilitation activities in Afghanistan for over 20 years. Increasingly, the organization has also been supporting the social reintegration of disabled people, ranging from landmine victims to those with a motor impairment. It runs prosthetic/orthotic centres in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, Gulbahar, Faizabad and Jalalabad, plus a home-care service offering medical, economic and social support for patients with spinal cord injuries and their families.

In July, the six ICRC centres:

  • registered over 600 new patients, including 103 amputees;

  • assisted some 6,860 patients;

  • fitted nearly 1,270 prostheses and orthotic devices;

  • held some 17,690 physiotherapy sessions;

  • granted micro-credit loans to over 45 patients to help them start their own small businesses;

  • provided vocational training for 243 patients, of whom 20 completed their training in July;

  • co nducted almost 625 home visits to patients with spinal cord injuries.


 Water and sanitation  

ICRC water engineers are working closely with local water boards on urban and rural programmes. The organization promotes hygiene awareness in religious schools and detention centres, and with families in their homes.

During July, the ICRC:

  • continued to work on projects that will supply water for nearly 75,700 people in Herat, Jalalabad, Laghman (Mehtarlam), Kandahar and Balkh (Mazar);

  • continued to work on projects to provide safe water for over 105,000 people in Kapisa, Bamyan, Herat, Farah, Faryab, Jawzjan, Balkh (Mazar) and Kandahar provinces;

  • carried out hygiene-promotion sessions for some 25,000 people in Herat, Farah, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Balkh (Mazar);

  • continued to improve the water supply and sanitary conditions for nearly 3,500 detainees in seven provincial prisons, and distributed hygiene kits to over 17,300 detainees;

  • continued renovation work at Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar.

Afghanistan is the ICRC's biggest operation worldwide. The organization has 132 international and over 1,480 national staff based in its main delegation in Kabul and in five sub-delegations and 10 offices countrywide. In addition, it operates seven prosthetic/orthotic centres.


 For further information, please contact:  

 Bijan Frederic Farnoudi, ICRC Kabul, tel: +93 700 282 719  

 Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18