APPENDICES TO THE MINUTES OF EVIDENCE
TAKEN BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Memorandum submitted by the Department
for International Development
1. The international community now has the
best opportunity in a generation to bring about lasting stability
in Afghanistan. Nevertheless it is crucial to maintain and enhance
the existing humanitarian effort whilst putting in place arrangements
for long-term reconstruction in partnership with the new Afghan
Interim Administration (AIA).
2. DFID's current assessment is that the
provision of immediate humanitarian relief to Afghanistan is adequate.
Despite three years of drought and conflict, and the recent insecurity
and population displacement, widespread famine has been averted
by the early and effective actions of the humanitarian community.
Over 6.6 million people have been supported with food aid over
the past five months, as well as other essential relief supplies
such as tents, clothing and cooking equipment.
3. However, the humanitarian situation in
Afghanistan remains fragile and significant needs will remain
for at least the coming year in challenging and volatile operating
conditions. Half of all Afghan children suffer from malnutrition,
under a quarter of the population has access to safe water, and
the maternal mortality rate is the second highest in the world.
Afghanistan's grain production has fallen by 50 per cent in the
last two years, its livestock herds are severely depleted and
its irrigation systems extensively damaged. Over 800 sq kilometres
of land cannot be put to productive use due to contamination from
landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), while 150 to 300 new
casualties occur each month as a result of mine/UXO accidents.
4. The UN estimates that approximately 9
million Afghans, including 1 million internally displaced people,
will be in need of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan in 2002.
5. The key issue that now needs to be addressed
is the need to provide security across Afghanistan, and begin
the process of demobilisation and disarmament and the building
and training of an Afghan army and police force. The greatest
danger to the future of Afghanistan is the risk of mounting disorder,
criminality and faction fighting. The AIA's initiative of demilitarisation
in the cities has been successful so far, with reports that the
number of weapons carried openly has now reduced significantly.
6. The ISAF deployment, currently led by
the UK, has been successful in enhancing the security of Kabul
and surrounding areas. The UK has also offered to work with the
AIA on a scoping study of the security sector.
7. Improved security means that international
staff numbers have returned to levels exceeding those before 11
September, and more areas outside the cities are being security
cleared for visits. The humanitarian community is now able to
move freely on most major roads throughout the country, and local
leaders and the interim administration are working to improve
the security of other routes.
8. Nevertheless, significant areas of the
east and south remain insecure due to military action or banditry,
and the continued dangers of mines and unexploded ordnance remain.
9. Despite some heavy winter weather (snows,
landslides and some early flooding) in the central highlands,
west, north and northeast, access has improved throughout the
country. Weather has restricted access by humanitarian agencies
but has not prevented aid distribution, particularly in the mountainous
regions. The most vulnerable areas are the northern/central highlands
such as Balkh, Kunduz, Faryab and Sar-I-Pul; and in the west in
Ghor and Badghis. While international relief has been slower to
reach these areas due to insecurity or access problems, most areas
are now receiving assistance.
10. Where poor weather conditions have restricted
movement, the international community has been able to cope through
the use of specialised clearance teams and/or using alternative
transport. When isolated pockets of severe malnutrition are identified,
response mechanisms are in place through WFP and lead NGOs. To
support the identification and response mechanisms and to better
enable the targeting of urgent relief and supplementary feeding,
WFP has now deployed helicopter-borne Rapid Assessment Teams (initially
based in Mazar-I-Sharif, subsequently moving to Kabul and Ghor)
to locate and provide essential food aid to isolated groups of
people in remote areas and to evaluate the impacts of feeding
11. The opening of the Salang tunnel has
improved the flow of supplies between the north and south of the
country. However a recent landslide at the tunnel due to heavy
snowfall illustrates the fragile state of the transport network.
Overall, transport infrastructure across the country is in a very
poor state, with a number of critical roads and bridges in need
of extensive, large-scale, capital investment.
12. Across most of the country, the severe
winter conditions are unlikely to translate into improvements
to the ongoing drought conditions. In the north and west, however,
higher levels of precipitation than in recent years suggest some
alleviation of the drought.
13. WFP has continued to perform well in
delivering food to Afghanistan. Approximately 250,000 tonnes of
food aid have been distributed to 6.6 million people since October
2001. Around 4,000 tonnes of food aid has been dispatched to the
worst-affected provinces of Herat, Faryab, Badghis and Ghor since
the beginning of February.
14. A city-wide food distribution has now
begun in Mazar-i-Sharif, following on from similar distributions
in Kabul and Herat. Approximately 53,000 families will receive
WFP food rations totalling around 2,500 tonnes of wheat.
15. Supplies of other relief items, such
as tents, blankets, and cooking equipment, continue to be provided
to those who need them in sufficient quantities.
16. UNICEF and the Ministry of Education
are making progress towards the beginning of the school year.
UNICEF's Back-to-School campaign is continuing and procurement
of back-to-school kits is underway. The project seeks to assist
1.5 million Afghan girls and boys in to school when the school
year resumes on 23 March 2002.
17. Health also remains a major priority
with the main concerns being measles, acute respiratory infections,
pregnancy-related complications, diarrhoea, and tuberculosis.
World Health Organisation emergency kits are being distributed
to hospitals and clinics, and a national drug supply programme
and sector planning is underway by the Ministry of Public Health
and WHO. The national immunisation programme is also continuing.
Meanwhile, health sector NGOs and the Red Cross movement continue
to provide the bulk of the capacity for curative and preventative
care throughout the country.
18. UNHCR estimates that in January 2002,
107,000 Afghans returned home from Pakistan and 26,000 Afghans
have repatriated from Iran. UNHCR's tentative 2002 plans are to
facilitate the voluntary repatriation of 400,000 refugees from
Pakistan and 400,000 from Iran and the return to their homes of
700,000 displaced persons. At this stage it is not possible to
predict likely movements accurately.
19. We have committed the majority of the
£60 million set aside for this financial year to support
the Interim Administration and the United Nations-led transitional
recovery and rehabilitation process, while continuing to respond
to humanitarian needs. This assistance is being provided through
United Nations agencies, the Red Cross movement and non-governmental
organisations for projects covering a wide range of sectors. In
addition, at the Tokyo Conference on the Reconstruction of Afghanistan,
we pledged £200 million over the next five years for both
reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. As part of our wider
programme, DFID's portfolio of quick impact projects is designed,
as a contribution to the wider international effort, to quickly
demonstrate the substantial peace dividend in seeing the Interim
Authority as a positive development for the future peace and stability
of the country. The portfolio is therefore designed to support
rapidly implemented activities through locally active agencies
acting under UN leadership and co-ordination.
20. The international community has contributed
over $670 million since September 2001, against the requirements
of $1,757 million appealed for up to the end of 2002, for both
humanitarian and recovery activities. See Annex A for further
details of donor contributions.
Department for International Development
20 February 2002