Development Issues

0

Flash floods kill 26 at Afghan wedding

Agence France-Presse, 05/07/2012 13:07 GMT

Kabul, May 7, 2012 (AFP) – At least 26 people were killed and more than 100 missing after flash floods hit a wedding party and three villages in northern Afghanistan, an official said Monday.

Most of the victims were women and children as the floods, caused by heavy rains, swept through areas of Deh Mardan district in Sari Pul province, said Fazlullah Sadat, head of the provincial disaster management authority.

“We have found 26 bodies mostly women and children — and more than 100 others are still missing,” he told AFP.

Wedding parties are traditionally large and joyous occasions in rural Afghanistan, but 21 people from one gathering were among the victims, he said.

“This is a human tragedy. We have a lot of human losses,” said Sadat.

Rescue teams had been dispatched to search for the missing, he added, and the floods also swept away livestock and swamped agricultural lands.

The defence ministry had dispatched two helicopters to flood-hit areas, he said, and disaster management teams assisted by the UN’s World Food Programme were at the scene, distributing food, blankets and tents.

Afghanistan’s harshest winter in 15 years saw unusually heavy snowfalls, and experts predicted melting snow was likely to cause floods in the mountainous north in the spring.

In March, the UN humanitarian office for Afghanistan said at least 145 people were missing and “presumed dead” after an avalanche hit a remote village in northeastern Badakhshan province.

0

Socio-Economic Reintegration and Livelihoods

During the last decade, the Afghan government and international community worked to promote peace, governance, security and development in Afghanistan. However, as discussed in a report entitled “Talking about Talks: Toward a Political Settlement in Afghanistan” from the International Crisis Group, the current situation is still fragile and volatile. A recent article in The Independent adds that insurgency hampers service delivery, accessibility, development initiatives and employment opportunities and, in doing so, may foster grievances which further fuel violence. In order to address this situation, the Afghan National Security Council passed the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP) in July 2010. The APRP, which is introduced in the first piece in the CFC’s introductory report on “Peace and Reintegration”, “provides means for anti-government elements to renounce violence and reintegrate and become a productive part of Afghan society”. As highlighted in the following pages, such processes can draw upon international experience and frameworks regarding the reintegration of armed groups and fighters. This piece introduces the main challenges encountered in many international reintegration programmes and discusses how Afghanistan and other countries have utilised infrastructure-related activities to help combatants transition to civilian life.  Download PDF (586.6 KB)

0

World Bank Commits to Sustained Engagement in Afghanistan

 World Bank, Press Release No:2012/415/SAR

WASHINGTON, DC, April 26, 2012 — The World Bank’s Board of Directors today discussed its Interim Strategy Note (ISN) for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan which provides a sustained commitment and vision to the country’s development through the period of transition and beyond.

The ISN builds upon a solid track record of results, despite the high risk environment. “Over the past decade, the World Bank, together with the international community, has helped the government make steady progress in many areas, including provision of basic services,” says Isabel M. Guerrero, World Bank Vice President for South Asia. “These visible gains include the development and roll-out of national programs in health, education and village level governance and service delivery, and a functioning and credible public financial management system.”

Going forward, the Bank’s support to Afghanistan over 2012-14 will be based on supporting the delivery of some of the most important national priorities. It is also grounded in helping the Government to manage the critical transition from security and development dominated by the international community to one led by the Government of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Bank group support will be provided around three themes:

  1. Building the Legitimacy and Capacity of Institutions.
  2. Equitable Service Delivery.
  3. Inclusive Growth and Jobs.

Specifically the Bank will continue to expand its support to institutions and processes associated with transparent economic and financial management and community level governance especially through the National Solidarity Program (NSP). Equally important will be to sustain and expand, as possible, World Bank support for important national programs in areas such as healthcare, education, rural connectivity and irrigation.  Read Full Press Release

0

Afghan refugees return to absolutely nothing

Danish Refugee Council, April 13, 2012

Returning Afghan refugees and internally displaced people are living in muddy slum areas of the cities in Afghanistan. They have no possessions and no opportunities. The International Society is not aware of the dire living conditions of this vulnerable group, says Ann Mary Olsen, head of the International Department of the Danish Refugee Council.

Between 400.000 and 800.000 Afghan refugees are expected to return to Afghanistan from the neighbouring countries during 2012-13 according to the UNHCR. Often because of lack of permissions in hosting countries, they have to return despite the fact that there is currently nothing to return to and not enough resources in the Afghan society to make sure they reintegrate.

Most of the returning refugees settle in urban or semi-urban areas due to a more secure environment and perceived better livelihood opportunities. Most of the returnees end up in one of the rapidly growing tent- and mud house settlements, alongside a quarter million internally displaced (IDPs) Afghans, who are also trying to make a living in the urban slum areas.

“The returning Afghans have nothing to return to. There are no schools, no access to medical aid, no water. They live in mud houses and sleep directly on the ground. Children are freezing to death as a consequence of their miserable living conditions,” says Ann Mary Olsen, head of the International Department of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) after visiting the settlements in Kabul.

DRC has been expanding its assistance in the urban areas of Afghanistan as the challenges of the rising number of returnees and IDPs has grown. Among other things DRC has been providing access to water and livelihood support. This winter, DRC has further been handing out lifesaving aid as food, firewood, stoves, waterproof sheets and warm clothes.

“The living conditions are very severe in the informal camps as there is no infrastructure and no one to make sure things are improving. The Afghan government does not have the capacity to change things – and they further have no wish to keep people in the urban areas,” says Ann Mary Olsen, who is wondering why the International Society isn’t acting to change the inhuman living conditions of the returnees and the IDPs.

To improve the situation UNHCR and the Afghan government have selected 40 sites in five Afghan provinceswhere consorted efforts will take place to todevelop better return and integration conditions for returnees and IDPs. The Danish Refugee Council will take a lead in developing two of these sites.

“Our assignment is to make sure that the returnees have something to return to. We are to give them the environment and the tools to make a future for themselves and their families. We are not talking of a simple intervention – to make this work, we need to focus on a decent infrastructure, protection and livelihood programs at the same time,” says Ann Mary Olsen.

0

Choose to Invest in Development and Humanitarian Relief

Apr 6, 2012

InterAction’s latest publication, Choose to Invest in Development and Humanitarian Relief FY2013, outlines key funding recommendations for the U.S. government to support accounts in the federal budget. This strong investment will make great strides to reduce global poverty, tackle environmental challenges and increase peacekeeping efforts to support stability and security.

Choose to Invest also highlights success stories from some InterAction members working in developing countries that have used U.S. government foreign assistance to help communities access resources and improve their quality of life.

110 InterAction members are urging Congress to fund these efforts as stated in a letter sent to members of Congress on March 30.:

Page 6 of 14« First...45678...Last »