© UNICEF/HQ07-1122/Noorani

Some 650 girls and boys attend this village school in central Bamyan Province in Afghanistan. Despite continuing insecurity, 4 million children have returned to school since 2005.


Afghanistan is facing a variety of natural and man-made disasters across the country. Armed conflict, school burning, suicide attacks and kidnapping and killing of humanitarian workers limit the access to civilian population and hamper the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Influx of deportees/returnees from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan, population movement and natural disasters are the main phenomena.

Afghanistan has a maternal mortality ratio of 1,600 deaths per 100,000 live births, which accounts as one of the highest in the world; infant mortality rate stands at 165 per 1,000 live births whereby one child out of every four does not survive his/her fifth birthday; 2 million primary school-aged children (60 per cent) are out of school, with an estimated 1.3 million of them being girls. As per Ministry of Education statistics, 3,929 schools do not have buildings (2006); only 23 per cent of the entire population has access to safe drinking water and a mere 12 per cent to sanitation facilities. According to UNHCR statistics, 347,563 individuals from Pakistan and 5,763 from Iran returned into Afghanistan in 2007 in addition to 260,342 deported persons. Conflict in southern, south-eastern and eastern regions is increasing, causing civilian casualties and population movement. In the military operations and suicide attacks up to June 2007 either by the Government/Coalition forces or by Anti-Government Elements (AGE) 600 civilians have been killed and over 2,000 families displaced, mainly in the south.


Health and nutrition: An estimated 600,000 vulnerable children among the displaced, returnee host communities and impoverished will benefit from the following activities: distribution of essential emergency drugs and equipment; provision of nutritional supplies to therapeutic feeding centres; administration of multiple micronutrients and vitamin A to pregnant/lactating women; vitamin A supplementation to internally displaced and drought-affected children; vaccination against measles; and rapid response to diarrhoeal and acute respiratory disease outbreaks for children in high-risk areas.

Water, sanitation and hygiene: UNICEF will provide water purification tablets at household level for 10,000 families and water tankering for a population of 150,000; chlorinate 10,000 wells in high-risk areas; construct 1,000 sanitary household latrines for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees; construct five roof water harvesting systems for five schools in drought-affected areas; repair 2,000 water points in drought-affected areas, mainly in schools; promote hygiene education; construct and repair 35 piped water schemes in drought- and flood-affected areas; and provide 60,000 collapsible water jerrycans to IDPs and emergency-affected families. An estimated 1 million children and women will be assisted.

Education: Over half a million children, mainly in IDP/returnee- and conflict-affected areas, will benefit from the construction of 305 cost-effective classrooms, the provision of teaching/learning materials, teacher support, temporary learning spaces, psychosocial support to traumatized and war-affected children and IDP/deportee (adolescent) girls’ education.

Child protection: UNICEF will create child-friendly play areas for children in the IDP/deportee concentrated areas and for children affected by armed conflict and natural disasters; strengthen monitoring of child rights violations and abuse through existing Child Protection Action Networks; support community-based psychosocial/child-friendly corners in the IDP/deportee concentrated areas; undertake mine-risk awareness programmes; trace and reunite separated children in the event of emergencies.

Humanitarian response and coordination: UNICEF, in coordination with the Government/UN agencies, will preposition relevant supplies in its Zonal Offices and other strategic locations to cover 30,000 families with a standard package of family kits, tarpaulins, jerrycans, blankets and warm clothing for women and children. UNICEF, in collaboration with the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA), will support disaster risk reduction trainings at community level.

Summary of UNICEF financial needs for 2008
Sector US$
Health and nutrition 2,210,835
Water, sanitation and hygiene 2,434,298
Education 5,064,541
Child protection 674,314
Humanitarian response and coordination 2,541,776
Total* 12,925,764

* The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.


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