Afghanistan Weekly Update No. 275
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Date: 07 Aug 1998
From the frontline
The general situation is calm in Kabul although rocket attacks directed at the airport took place on 27 and 28 July. UN flights to Kabul resumed on restricted basis, commencing on 28 July.
Since 12 July, Maimana, in the Northwest of the country, has been the site of continuous fighting as the Northern Alliance moved to contain the Taliban incursion. High civilian casualties are reported to have been sustained during the intense house to house fighting. On 1st August a strong Taliban force moved to capture the towns of Andkhoy and Shiberghan; the latter being Dostum's headquarter and logistic base. One of the main consequences is a large-scale movement of civilians from Shiberghan to Mazar and from Mazar to safer provinces. Although, Mazar City remained relatively quiet, increasing number of people have left the city during the past week and lawless activity is reportedly beginning to re-emerge. Fighting on both Kunduz fronts continues.
On 28 July, a WFP chartered aircraft was hit by rifle fire during its approach into Faizabad, Badakhshan Province.
A number of clashes in Laghman Province were reported as the Taliban reportedly launched fresh operations against Northern Alliance guerrillas. A Taliban mission through Kunar Province on 27 July managed to reopen the road to Asadabad, however, UN missions to Kunar remain suspended.
Impact of aid suspension in Kabul
The impact of the widespread suspensions of NGO-implemented assistance programs is being felt directly in many quarters. The civilian population, for the time being, is coping with the difficulties that they face.
However, the cumulative effect of the health and water supply reductions will have severe consequences on the urban population.
The collective efforts of international organizations to plan and prepare for relief activities during the coming winter have been disrupted by the withdrawal of a significant proportion of the implementing organizations.
The suspensions come at a time when a number of key players in the relief sector (including the ICRC) were involved in radical re-assessments of their collective approach into the winter of 1998/9.
Rehabilitation of Kabul Polytechnic building
In spite of the departure of NGOs, rehabilitation work has begun on the Polytechnic premises, under the auspices of the Taliban Authorities.
WHO and the Ministry of Public Health report an increase in the number of diarrhea cases in Bamyan town. Health surveillance has been stepped up including health education in affected villages. An isolation ward has been set up in the Iranian Red Crescent Hospital.
An in-service training on disease surveillance particularly for diarrhea diseases was conducted in Kabul to strengthen reporting system. The seasonal increase of diarrhea diseases in the Kabul City is under strong surveillance. Through a quick survey of the overall health situation in Kabul, WHO has found that a considerable number of feeding centres, mainly therapeutic have closed down.
The celebration of World Breast-feeding Week started on 1st August in two maternity hospitals and 29 MCH clinics. The said 31 camps will deliver messages on breast-feeding problems along week.
A three days immunization session took place in an IDP camp in Dasht-e-Barchi (Kabul) and all children under two years were immunized under supervision of UNICEF.
FAO Crops monitored contract seed growers wheat field; rain-fed seed increase plots and selected a couple of sites for establishing rice crop Farmer Field Demonstrations in Sholgara District of Mazar Province.
FAO Crops irrigated the research farm for land preparation and distributed mineral fertilizer to 17 maize crop Farmer Fields Demonstrations in five P. E. A. C. E. initiative-selected districts in Kandahar.
UNICEF has provided supplies to dispensaries and hospitals in Herat, Ghor and IDP camps.
UNCHS completed 2,200 meters of the city main drainage project and evaluated, with community groups, the tailoring and carpet weaving projects.
WFP distributed 165 tonnes of wheat for the food-for-seed project in Farah and FAO horticulture project in Obeh and Chest-i-Sharif, Herat.
FAO Crops with Okenden Venture held a training course on vegetable seed and crop production.