Memorandum submitted by British Red Cross
Expatriate delegates are now returning to Kabul
and other cities around northern Afghanistan, and are discovering
that local staff have been managing to run most of the health
work, and some of the relief and water sanitation projects, in
the absence of delegates over these last two months. In Kabul,
despite an increase in the number of patients, supplies have sufficed
and the increased workload was handled well. Some water sanitation
repair work was also carried out, as well as the distribution
of relief supplies in both Kabul and Mazar. Drought response work
in Ghor and Dar-I-Suf provinces was halted, as were detention
visits around the country. It is a priority to resume these activities
as soon as possible.
Main Activities Supported since 11 September:
On-going support in the form of equipment,
staff and supplies for 25 hospitals and 6 orthopaedic centres
around Afghanistan. (Supplies were replenished by occasional truck
convoys from Pakistan.)
The delivery of shelter and 3 month
rations to 30,000 internally displaced people around the city
The distribution of food rations
to 7,917 of the most vulnerable families (patients of the ICRC
orthopaedic centre) in Kabul. (This work was disrupted by the
destruction of the ICRC warehouses.)
The provision of food (on-loan to
WFP) to IDP camps around Herat.
Repair work on water distribution
systems in Kabul.
The delivery of blankets and plastic
sheeting, from Pakistan to Kabul, which were distributed immediately
to people with damaged roofs and windows as a result of the bombing.
The pre-positioning of food (3 month
food rations for 540,000 people), shelter material (for 60,000
people) and medical material (to treat 140,000 people) in countries
neighbouring Afghanistan, and the negotiation of supply lines
into Afghanistan from these states.
The above activities in Afghanistan were managed
by local staff with telephone support from the expatriate delegates
in neighbouring states. During the last week the operational environment
in much of Afghanistan has changed dramatically, allowing the
return of some expatriate delegates who are now identifying priorities
for the future. The most immediate of these are:
The identification and burial of
The negotiation of security guarantees
for aid workers.
The resumption of detention visits
in light of the fact that there are growing numbers of new detainees
as a result of the conflict.
The clarification for all parties
in the conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian
law with regards to the treatment of prisoners and civilians.
If security guarantees are given by the United
Front, then it is planned to increase the number of expatriate
delegates over the coming weeks. Together with the 1,000 local
staff, the priorities are as follows:
To bring in and distribute the items
pre-positioned in neighbouring states.
To restore safe drinking water to
residents in Kabul. (In the first two weeks in November, the ICRC
conducted repairs on water supply systems, impacting on hundreds
of thousands of people.)
To provide shelter to those who have
lost their homes, or have had their homes damaged, during the
To identify needs in the surrounding
villages where many people have sheltered over the last two months,
and to review the needs of internally displaced people.
To ensure that ICRC supported hospitals
and medical facilities are equipped to sufficient levels.
To gain access to the drought hit
provinces of Ghor and Dar-I-Suf, where Red Cross/Crescent aid
distributions were disrupted in September, and where over 250,000
people did not receive the aid intended for them. It may be too
late to approach these provinces by the intended road routes,
and as a last resort air drops and airlifts may now be necessary
if these people are to be reached.
The Federation has pursued a dual approach of
supporting the Red Crescent Society of Afghanistan and within
Afghanistan, and supporting the Red Crescent Societies in neighbouring
states to prepare to deal with a potential influx of refugees.
The prior is likely to become increasingly significant in light
of recent events. During these last two months the 48 Primary
Health Clinics run by the Afghan Red Crescent continued to function,
and supplies were replenished with help from the ICRC. The clinics
continued to treat their usual patients, as well as continuing
preventive health work for pregnant women and mothers. The Afghan
Red Crescent also ran an Ambulance service together with the ICRC.
Main Activities Supported since 11 September:
On-going support for 48 primary health
clinics in Afghanistan targeted at the most vulnerable population
The pre-positioning of relief supplies
in Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to deal with an
expected influx of refugees.
Support for the Iranian Red Crescent
in their management of refugee/IDP camps within Afghanistan.
Refugee Camp Management training
for Red Crescent National Society staff.
On-going work to support vulnerable
communities in states neighbouring Afghanistan, such as drought
response work in Tajikistan.
The humanitarian crisis did not spill over the
borders in the way originally anticipated, and some of the original
plans need to be revised in light of recent events. The Federation
now has the following priorities:
To provide support to the Red Crescent
Society of Afghanistan (RCSA) to supply and run effectively the
Primary Health Clinics, and if necessary adapt them to meet new
To help the RCSA in its restructuring
and strategic planning.
To continue and develop the RCSA/Federation
drought response work in Afghanistan as soon as access is granted.
To continue to support the Iranian
Red Crescent in refugee camp management.
To continue to be prepared to support
refugees in Pakistan, including those refugees in the established
To assist in the repatriation of
refugees seeking to return to Afghanistan.
To agree with ICRC on the best use
of relief items pre-positioned in states neighbouring Afghanistan.
To recognise that the needs are also
great in states surrounding Afghanistan, and that the on-going
work of the Federation in these countries must also be supported.
British Red Cross
16 November 2001