UNICEF is appealing for US$50.9 million to meet the growing humanitarian needs of children and women in Afghanistan in 2015.
In 2015, UNICEF and partners plan for:
children ages 0-59 months affected by SAM admitted for treatment
IDPs and host communities provided with sufficient quantity of water of appropriate quality for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
40,000 school-aged children including adolescents access formal and informal education
2015 Requirements: US$50,909,000
Total affected population: 7.4 million
Total affected children: 3.2 million
Total people to be reached in 2015: 6.2 million
Total children to be reached in 2015: 2.2 million
On 26 October, Afghanistan was struck by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake which was felt throughout the country. Based on assessment reports (as of 1 November), the earthquake has resulted in 126 fatalities (including 16 girl students), 489 injured people, 6,284 damaged houses and 4,665 houses destroyed in 15 provinces. Verified reports indicate that Kunar, Takhar and Nangarhar provinces have been hardest hit with 36, 28 and 23 deaths respectively. Initial reports show 26 destroyed schools, 71 damaged schools and 3 damaged mosques.1 The rugged terrain or insecurity is delaying access to an estimated 1,356 affected villages. This earthquake will only exacerbate a situation already characterized by a protracted conflict and natural disasters which are seriously affecting the survival, livelihood and dignity particularly of Afghan children and women. In addition, due to the increase of violent incidents and attacks, and a combination of avalanches and floods in early 2015, over 900,000 people (61 per cent of whom are children) have already been displaced to informal settlements with poor sanitation, minimal livelihood opportunities and inadequate essential services.2 The districts of Juhm and Warduj, which are the epicenter of the quake, are not under government control and assessments are being carried out by the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) which has access to those areas. No displacement to camps are recorded as families who have lost homes are being accommodated by relatives in the same communities. The government is leading assessments and relief efforts. Based on assessment results, 78,853 people are in need of assistance3, which may increase as remote and difficult-to-reach areas are accessed.
Humanitarian strategy (July to December 2015)
2015 Programme Targets
- 160,000 children ages 0 to 59 months affected by SAM admitted for treatment
- 600,000 children 6 to 23 months in the affected areas received multiple micronutrient supplementation
- 650,000 women with children 0 to 23 months receive IYCF counselling/promotion messages
- 200,000 children aged 9 months to 10 years received measles vaccination
- 200,000 pregnant women and children under 5 benefit from standby capacity for coping with a humanitarian crisis
- 100,000 affected people received health education and key messages
- 300,000 IDP and host communities provided with sufficient quantity of water of appropriate quality for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
- 300,000 IDPs and host community supported with appropriate sanitation facilities and living in environment free of open defecation
- 6,000 conflict and emergency-affected boys and girls including separated children, GBV victims, benefited from multi-sectoral services (health, psychosocial, justice)
- 26,000 children provided with mine risk education (MRE) through local media
- 40,000 school-aged children including adolescents accessed formal and informal education
- 40,000 school-aged children including adolescents accessed education programmes that have incorporated psychosocial support
Under the leadership of the Provincial Disaster Management Committee (PDMC) in the respected provinces, the Humanitarian Response Team (HRT) including UNICEF, will support the earthquake-affected population. A coordinated response will be delivered through the Cluster mechanism with UNICEF leading the WASH and Nutrition clusters, co-leading the Child Protection area of responsibility under the Protection Cluster, and supporting education-in-emergency-related activities. UNICEF will continue to provide leadership in the areas of policy, strategy and capacity development across these clusters.
In nutrition, the focus will remain on the expansion of SAM treatment including in the provinces most affected by the earthquake. In health, preparedness for disease outbreaks and the provision of maternal and newborn services will be crucial. Support for the identification and care of separated/ unaccompanied children and the provision of psychosocial support to minimize the damaging effects of trauma will be scaled up. In education, support will be provided to the Ministry of Education to ensure children’s uninterrupted access to learning. It includes, joint advocacy with Ministry of Education for coordinating support for distribution of education materials, school tents, and school rehabilitation both by UNICEF and NGO partners such as NRC and BRAC. However, with snow already falling in parts of Badakhshan Province, emergency shelter and winterization are particularly pressing concerns. Access to many of the quake-affected areas remains the most significant challenge to the response.
Results to date (1 January to 30 October 2015)
Preparedness activities undertaken by UNICEF-led Clusters resulted in provincial WASH contingency plans; capacity building of all key stakeholders on Child Protection Minimum Standards in emergencies;
Risk education through local radio and television messaging to increase awareness and prevent casualties of children caused by landmines, unexploded ordinance and explosive remnants of war; and, the provision of teaching and learning materials, non-formal education, and psycho-social support to refugee children from Pakistan in Khost and Paktika Provinces.
As part of its preparedness measures, UNICEF had prepositioned stocks of materials to cover urgent needs in the sectors of WASH, health, nutrition, child protection and education. These emergency supplies, including non-food items (NFIs), have already been released to government departments, NGO partners and the Afghan Red Crescent Society to meet the immediate needs of families affected by the earthquake. To be noted that part of these stocks were also released in response to the conflict in Kunduz Province in early October and for winterization interventions. Emergency supplies would need to be replenished urgently.
As of 1 November, 5,099 people have received food (out of 58,590 people in need), 9,124 people have received shelter assistance (out of 41,433 people in need) and 12,260 people have received NFI assistance (out of 61, 509 people in need) through humanitarian partners including UNICEF. However, additional resources will be required to support an estimated 3,000 families throughout the winter. Access difficulties in areas such as Nuristan will invariably delay the delivery of those supplies. In Takhar Province, food, NFIs and tents are being provided by Afghanistan National Disaster Management Agency (ANDMA) with support from partners. Critical interventions are now focussing on managing surgical patients and providing psychosocial support to traumatized communities.
UNICEF’s revised appeal remains at US$50.9 million as only US$15 million have been received as of 31 October with another US$7.3 million carried forward from 2014. To continue to address the growing humanitarian needs of children and women in Afghanistan, and to respond to the devastating effects of the earthquake in the 13 most affected provinces in north-eastern parts of the country, funds are urgently needed to fill the gaps. The Governments of China, India, Iran and Japan have already offered their support to Afghanistan which will be vital to effectively support the national response to the earthquake.