Emergency Revision in Response to Drought of the Consolidated Appeal for Afghanistan 2011
Limited snow and rainfall during the past winter and spring have caused a slow-onset disaster in the form of drought in the north, north-east and west of Afghanistan, further exacerbating an already critical situation for many communities that are in conflict-affected, insecure and under-developed areas. While a formal emergency has not been declared, there is a high probability that the crisis could deepen if relief and preparedness operations are not ramped up over the next four months through 2012 to bolster existing coping strategies and prevent further deterioration. The situation could be further exacerbated if the upcoming intensely cold winter is prolonged, and if precipitation in the autumn, winter and spring is insufficient. As such, responses should include the strengthening of more sustainable, longer-term, disaster risk reduction interventions by government and development partners over the next years to support millions of people who remaining in need of basic services and food and livelihoods support notwithstanding the US$26.7 billion that Afghanistan received in aid between 2002 and 2009.
Immediate needs are related to food security and agriculture, nutrition, health and access to water for almost three million people. The anticipated loss of nutrition will have significant health impacts for children under five years of age, pregnant and lactating women, people with illnesses or disabilities and the elderly.
In August 2011, a large-scale Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) was conducted by Food Security and Agriculture Cluster partners under the technical leadership of the World Food Programme. The EFSA also included some components of nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues. In addition, other clusters, individual organizations and Humanitarian Regional Teams conducted specific assessments contributing to the analysis and response plans provided in this appeal. The Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC) and WASH Cluster have identified 14 common provinces with drought needs: Balkh, Samangan, Takhar, Saripul, Herat, Badghis, Faryab, Jawzjan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Badakshan, Bamyan, Daikundi and Ghor. The highest rates of severe food insecurity were found in the first four provinces listed. In addition, Nutrition Cluster partners conducted surveys in which preliminary results from Oxfam Novib indicate global acute malnutrition of almost 14% in Faryab and Saripul, and 9% in Balkh. Medair results indicate that Badakhshan province in the northeast has GAM rates of 30% among children aged 6-59 months. Further, the WASH Cluster identified an additional seven provinces, which are being assessed for possible drought-like conditions. The Nutrition, Health, Emergency Shelter and Non-Food Items, Education and Protection Clusters identify the same FSAC and WASH common provinces.
2011 Consolidated Appeal Mid-Year Review and Drought Emergency
The June 2011 CAP Mid-Year Review emphasized life-saving and livelihood-saving actions and strengthening emergency preparedness and contingency planning through the following strategic objectives:
A. Immediate: To provide humanitarian assistance to and facilitate protection of victims of conflict and natural disaster.
B. High: To develop contingency planning on recognized hazards (with reference to Hyogo Framework Priority 5).
C. Medium: To provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to populations impacted by the consequences of chronic vulnerability (or under-development).
Through this emergency revision process in response to drought and the revision of other CAP projects, the MYR requirement of $454 million has been revised to $583 million. The 2011 Afghanistan CAP is currently 58% funded. The drought-related projects highlighted in this Emergency Revision document amount to $142 million inclusive of the FSAC, WASH, Nutrition, Health, and Emergency Shelter and Non-Food Items Clusters. 31 new projects have been added to address strategic objective A toward the provision of humanitarian assistance and protection to victims of conflict and natural disasters.
In response to the increased acute needs identified due to drought, the humanitarian community’s strategy aims at providing urgent relief aid to prevent the situation from deteriorating before the commencement of the winter and spring lean seasons in December to April. Key also is to pre-position stocks in November for access during the winter months ending in mid-March. Four provinces will be especially affected by decreased access due to winter conditions – Ghor, Daikundi, Bamyan and parts of Badakshan – in addition to food security challenges given their next harvest will not appear until September 2012. Concern also remains on the food accessibility for IDPs in insecure provinces, given their mobility to reach markets is restricted due to on-going conflict; this includes Herat, Faryab, Saripul, Jawzjan, Balkh and Kunduz.
Priority activities include the scaling of food assistance through direct distributions or cash transfers to provide populations’ access to markets and improved water accessibility and quality. A combination of health and WASH interventions closely linked to food and nutrition activities, are required to prevent communicable disease outbreaks and expected increase in morbidities related to nutritional deficit. Disease control through surveillance and early warning, vaccinations, and emergency health services are key actions. Basic non-food items (NFIs) and shelter for the displaced are essential for survival, especially in the winter, and will be coordinated with WASH, nutrition and food interventions to ensure synergy. Protection, incorporating child protection and gender-based violence activities, will continue to be mainstreamed in the humanitarian response.