The International Organization for Migration (IOM) continues to expand its relief operations across Afghanistan in response to mounting, complex humanitarian needs fueled by natural disasters and insecurity while reengaging established livelihood, promoting durable solutions, community development and infrastructure projects.
IOM, along with the rest of the humanitarian community, is committed to stay and deliver relief and assistance to mobile and displaced populations in Afghanistan as well as local communities. We will continue to operate in a neutral and impartial manner but insist on unimpeded access and assurances that our staff and service providers can deliver assistance and services – particularly to women and girls and those most vulnerable - without interference.
IOM’s financial requirements under the joint Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Afghanistan in 2022 total USD 380.9 million, targeting 3.2 million among the most vulnerable people including those on the move.
On 22 June 2022, a powerful earthquake of 6.1 magnitude occurred in remote parts of southeastern Afghanistan, with the provinces of Paktika and Khost being most affected. Hundreds of people have been confirmed dead, hundreds more have sustained injuries while unknown numbers are buried in the rubble of ruined mud houses. To date IOM has identified 1,705 affected families needing urgent relief assistance and as the assessment remains ongoing this figure of people in need, the death toll and the number of injured is expected to rise. Distribution of relief assistance is expected to commence on 25 June to address the urgent shelter and NFI needs of the families that are currently living out in open spaces.
Immediate needs are lifesaving: water, shelter, food and access to emergency health care. These needs are intensified as the area was already a hot spot for food insecurity and water borne disease prior to the earthquake. Of the 1,705 HH surveyed to date 88% are severely destroyed and destruction is widespread. WASH infrastructure is also being reported as damaged. An Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) alert for the affected provinces was also received one day before the earthquake struck. An already vulnerable community is now highly in need of safe water access to prevent the spread of water borne disease.
Emergency health needs are high, with many sustaining injuries during the earthquake. Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) has been identified as a critical need to support an already vulnerable communities to deal with the aftermath of the disaster. The Gender in Humanitarian Action (GiHA) group have also raised the alarm that women and children are at risk with many also sleeping out in the open. Female humanitarian workers will be key to ensure that women and girls can be reached and their needs appropriately assessed.
IOM is leading a joint interagency assessment team in Paktika and Khost provinces. The assessment is looking to determine the shelter damage as well as the intersectoral needs on the ground, so that agencies may response to both short term life saving response as well as longer term recovery planning. The assessment began on 23 June and is continuing with approximately 20% complete. Teams will begin responding in assessed areas whilst continuing the assessment work simultaneously in other affected areas.
SNFI: As an immediate response – 1,200 family emergency shelter and NFI kits have been dispatched. Distribution will begin today, 25th June. The kits include emergency tents, NFIs and emergency shelter reconstruction tool kits. An additional 27 trucks are being loaded to deliver more emergency shelter and NFI kits to another 1,000 families across three districts in the affected provinces of Paktika and Khost.
WASH: 8,000 hygiene kits and materials have been prepositioned as part of the WASH cluster core pipeline. 3000 jerry cans for household water storage as well as 20 bladders for community level water storage solutions and are ready and available to distribute to partners as needed. Health and MHPSS: 2 Mobile health teams with integrated MHPSS capacity have been sent to Paktika including 6 female MHPSS councilors. 5 tons of medicines (including antibiotics, analgesics and medicine for a primary health care services) have been sent with the mobile teams and more are being prepositioned.
Response to earthquake affected populations was already part of IOMs consolidated appeals process in line with the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the earthquake preparedness planning at interagency level. IOM has, in coordination with its donors utilized existing stocks. Funds and capacity to launch an immediate response to the earthquake to get much needed lifesaving assistance to those affected and displaced by the disaster. IOM is looking to expand its overall funding envelope for Afghanistan to ensure that we can respond to the earthquake in the southeast whilst ensuring that response to the wider humanitarian crisis ongoing in Afghanistan is not compromised. Looking ahead, IOM is also discussing with its funding partners how longer term funding can be utilized for safe durable shelter solutions and livelihood opportunities for those affected by this disaster.