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 GOVERNANCE AND RULE OF LAW

Secretary-General's latest report

The UN Secretary-General's quarterly report to the Security Council released on 18 June 2014 provides an update of UNAMA's activities since 7 March 2014, listed below. For a full copy of the latest report, click here

 

V. Humanitarian assistance

40. A series of emergencies in northern Afghanistan, the result of heavy seasonal rains and above-average snow-melt, again highlighted the chronic vulnerabilities to natural disasters of what remains one of the world’s poorest countries. On 2 May, significant landslides in Badakhshan Province killed an unconfirmed number of people. Altogether, the floods and landslides that occurred in132 districts throughout May were estimated to have affected 150,000 people and damaged and destroyed 16,471 homes. On 6 June, more large flash floods hit Baghlan and initial reports indicate a significant loss of life and the destruction of hundreds of homes. The provinces of Jawzjan, Saripul, Faryab, Balkh and Baghlan were the most severely affected. Contingency planning meant that provisions were pre-positioned based on the flooding patterns of 2013, which had affected 204,000 people and damaged and destroyed 22,000 homes. Relief stocks proved sufficient, with the major constraints being physical access where infrastructure was damaged and security challenges in contested areas.

41. On 5 and 6 May, my Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs visited Kabul and Badakhshan Province. She called for continuing support to vulnerable communities affected by conflict and natural disasters and warned that any significant reduction in aid during the transition period could be devastating. As at 31 May, overall humanitarian funding received in Afghanistan, including by the Red Cross and Red Crescent family of organizations, reached $244 million for 2014. Humanitarian funding aligned with the United Nations strategic response plan stood at 40 per cent of the appeal requirement. The first standard allocation of $20 million of the newly established common humanitarian fund was finalized in May with priority interventions aimed at providing up to 800,000 Afghans with access to essential health services and ataddressing the needs of up to 400,000 severely malnourished children, mainly in southern and south-eastern Afghanistan.

42. On 26 March, the Internally Displaced Persons Task Force, co-chaired by the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation and the United Nations, approved a road map for the implementation of the national policy on internally displaced persons. Between 1 February and 30 April, the Task Force recorded 6,779 displacements owing to conflict, most of which in Faryab, Balkh, Farah, Ghor, Kabul, Nangarhar, Kapisa and Badghis provinces. This brings the national total to some 660,000 persons internally displaced owing to conflict. On 30 April, a portfolio of projects proposed under the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees to Support Voluntary Repatriation, Sustainable Reintegration and Assistance to Host Countries was launched in Pakistan by the Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Ranging from emergency assistance to long-term development interventions, the projects aim to foster the sustainable return and reintegration of refugees to Afghanistan. The project to renew proof-of-registration cards, which was launched in February, will continue until 30 December 2015. Around 75 per cent of the 1.6 million refugees registered in Pakistan completed the process by the end of May. Between 1 February and 30 April, 3,535 refugees voluntarily repatriated to Afghanistan with the assistance of the United Nations, of whom 2,061 were from Pakistan, 1,429 were from the Islamic Republic of Iran and 45 were from India. This represented a decrease of 64 per cent compared with the same period in 2013.

43. Humanitarian access constraints continue to be recorded under the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ global monitoring framework. Key areas of concern remain attacks against personnel, assets and facilities and the violation of health facilities. As at 30 April, 82 incidents of violence against personnel, assets and facilities were recorded in 2014, resulting in 22 deaths, 11 injuries, 83 abductions and attempted abductions, and the arrest and detention of five aid workers. Between 1 January and 30 April, 36 incidents affected health facilities and assets, the majority in the eastern and central provinces. Prior to the first round of elections, intense advocacy by the humanitarian community emphasized the obligation to not target civilians and civilian facilities, including health clinics and schools designated for use as polling centres. On election day, 2 of 173 health clinics and 45 of the 3,546 educational facilities designated as polling locations were affected by election-related violence. This represents a two-thirds reduction in the number of incidents compared with 2009.

44. As at 31 May, Afghanistan reported four cases of polio, all in the east of the country, reinforcing the importance of cross-border cooperation and coordination in combating the virus, including in terms of synchronizing polio vaccination campaigns with Pakistan. In general, personnel working on polio programmes have continued to have access to insecure areas, but the uncertainty of the electoral period has had an adverse impact on campaigns in some locations.

45. During the reporting period, 10 battlefields and 144 minefields were cleared by the mine action sector, supported by the United Nations, and an additional six districts were declared mine-free. In March and April, a total of 57 casualties related to mines and unexploded ordinance were recorded; 16 of these were in or around international military firing ranges or former bases. The United Nations continued to work with ISAF to help ensure that premises being closed or transferred are cleared of unexploded ordnance. To date, 81 km2of firing range have been cleared and 33,000 explosive items and almost 13,000 items of small arms ammunition have been destroyed. March marked the end of the first year of the 10-year workplan to remove all hazards from Afghanistan by 2023; during that first year, 87.2 km2of land were cleared. It is estimated that 4,081 minefields and 218 battlefields, affecting 1,609 communities in 33 provinces, remain to be cleared.