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The Community World Service Office in Mansehra organized an International Women’s Day event at their Basic Health Unit (BHU) in Bararai to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past year.
Young girls from the Afghan refugee community wearing purple head bands to show their participation in strengthening women empowerment through education in the future.
A group of women from the Afghan refugee community were invited to this gathering. They shared success stories of women and expressed their commitment towards promoting and protecting women rights.  Protection Issues for women was also brought up in these discussions.
An awareness session on International Women’s Day and its history was held at the BHU during this event.
The project staff and community members paid tribute to the achievements and struggle of women globally. The photographs were taken to show their solidarity and support to all women around the world.
A group of women from the Afghan refugee community were invited to this gathering. They shared success stories of women and expressed their commitment towards promoting and protecting women rights.  Protection Issues for women was also brought up in these discussions.

On 31st March, the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum held a day-long event in Islamabad to showcase the wide variety of humanitarian development work being carried out in Pakistan. We were able to share our activities in disaster response and recovery, water and sanitation, health, education, livelihoods, peace and democracy, and quality and accountability with our colleagues and partners in the community. Our innovative Mobile Health Laboratory also made an appearance, and offered free blood pressure, blood sugar and blood typing tests to willing visitors!

The exposition was attended by international and national non-governmental, community-based and civil society organizations.
Our stall was well attended throughout the day!
A picture is worth a thousand words!  Displays of photographs and handicrafts interested visitors and demonstrated our work.
Our Mobile Health Laboratory attracted interest and patients!  Dr. Tayaba and Mohammed Jan, the laboratory technician were kept busy with examinations.

Khumari’s eyes reflect the sorrow of losing three brothers and a cousin. Trembling with fear she shared, “my father and elder brother are soldiers based in Helmand province, south of Afghanistan. It was during midnight when our village based in Darra district of Panjsher province was hit by a snow slide flowing into our homes and destroyed everything.”

Khumari ran out of her house to save her life and recalls the screams and cries of other village members during the disaster. “My family members were trapped inside the house under the snow. Later my uncle helped to take them out.” Some of her family members survived the incident and were shifted to safe areas; however those who were not able to make it were left in the snow.

“Everything is destroyed. My father and my brother arrived the next day and were shattered to see our ruined village. Dead bodies of humans and animals were on the ground and some of them were still buried under the snow.” Khumari and her family feel very helpless and are in dire need of assistance. Looking forward to a helping hand, community members are willing to move out of this area to start a new life given that they are provided assistance from humanitarian agencies to fulfill their immediate emergency needs.

Shireen Khan, age forty-seven is one of the affected community members residing in a sub village of Darra district, Panjsher province. A farmer by profession, Shireen is the only breadwinner of his family including his wife and eight children. Life was usual until an avalanche struck Shireen’s village on February 25, 2015. “The snow slide occurred during midnight. It ruined everything, our house, our goods and orchards, and all our valuables causing us a loss of approximately 600,000 Afs (10,000 US dollars). More than this I lost my five month old baby in this natural disaster,” shared Shireen with grief.

Furthermore he shared that overall twenty-three people are killed, six injured and thirty-five houses are destroyed from his village due to this avalanche. Awaiting emergency assistance Shireen shared, “till now we have received some support from community members and few national traders. Our land is completely destroyed; hence there is no possibility of reconstruction or any other opportunity for livelihoods. If anyone assists me I will migrate from this area and construct my new house at a different location to start a new life.”

Background: Heavy rain, snow fall, avalanches and flash floods have affected 7,018 families in twenty-two provinces of Afghanistan. A total of 254 people were killed and seventy-two people were injured. 1,312 houses were completely destroyed and 5,285 houses were damaged.

According to recent reports Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) Afghanistan has provided health related services to 6,125 individuals. All main roads are now open to traffic; however the Ministry of Defense (MoD), Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) are still working with local contractors to reopen secondary roads in Badakhshan, Bamyan, and Daykundi provinces. All roads are open in Panjsher province, except for the Khawak valley road in Paryan district.

As per recent reports, 425 new IDP families are reported from Hese Awal district in Panjsher province. Till to date Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) has provided cash assistance to 106 families who lost their family members. Private donations collated by ANDMA has comprised of food donations for 2,264 families (including wheat, vegetable oil, sugar, and rice), 170 tents, 444 plastic sheets, 750 blankets, and clothes for 1,670 adults and children. Additionally the Government of Afghanistan has also allocated emergency funds to support affected families. With support from UNICEF, MoPH has assigned vaccination teams in Panjsher and vaccinated 3,000 children by March 17, 2015. Emergency hospitals and basic health clinics in Panjsher are also functional.

In Parwan, assessment in parts of Ghorband valley is still pending due to road clearance. World Food Program (WFP) distributed food and International Organization for Migration (IOM) distributed NFIs to 242 families from Bagram, Charikar, and Jebal Saraj and Kohi Safi districts. WFP food, CARE NFIs, and UNICEF children’s clothing distributions started in Salang district on March 14, 2015 and are expected to begin in Shiwari and Surkh-e-Parsa districts. In Salang, health clinics with ten bed capacities are fully operational in both sides of the pass.

In Kapisa, 366 families have been affected by heavy snowfall. In total, three people died, eight injured, 166 houses were completely destroyed and 200 houses severely damaged in twenty-four villages in seven districts. Their priority needs are food and NFIs. The Provincial Department of Agriculture reported that 3,500 farmers were affected by heavy snowfall and the Ministry of Agriculture has assigned teams to assess damage to farms and orchards. Villages affected by heavy snow fall in Deh-Sabaz district of Kabul are yet to be assessed.

Eastern Region: Joint assessment teams have recommended 2,929 families for humanitarian assistance from Nangarha, Kunar, Laghman, and Nuristan. A total of 2,683 houses are severely damaged and 246 houses are completely destroyed in the region.

Nangarhar is the worst affected province in eastern region due to floods where Behsud, Shekhmesr, Surkhsrod, Darunta, Khewa, Dara-eNoor, Jalalabad City Achin and some other districts of this province are severally damaged. Overall nine people including women and children have died, few are reported injured, 158 houses completely damaged, while 1,591 houses are severely damaged.

North Eastern Region: Assessments are underway in Badakhshan, Takhar and Baghlan provinces. More than ten houses are completely destroyed, five people are killed and three other wounded due to recent avalanches in districts of Badakhshan.

Western Region: Heavy snowfall in Badghis has cut off several villages in Ab Kamari district from basic health services. The Department of Public Health (DoPH) has deployed an emergency mobile health team to the affected villages. MoPH has sent a medical team to Qala-e-Naw in Badghis province to support families under threat of landslides.

CWS-P/A Response: CWS-P/A emergency response team is on alert and coordinating with ANDMA, OCHA, IOM and other relevant organizations and stakeholders.

Based on a recent update from OCHA in Afghanistan Humanitarian Forum (AHF) meeting held on March 18, 2015 in Kabul, the main and worst affected provinces in terms of damages and number of affected families who lost their assets are Parwan and Nangarhar. Immediate needs of the affected families including food is fulfilled for the month, but there is dire need of food for the coming months. Most of the affected families have lost their stand crops in agriculture land and wheat, corn, rice, bean and other food items stocked in their houses were washed away by flood, came under avalanches or expire due to heavy snow and floods. These food items were stored by the people for one year consumption.

As per the list of distributed assistance shared by ANDMA, OCHA, IOM and other organizations, mattresses and pillows are not included which is one of the priority need of the affected families. Currently the floors are damp and sleeping on damp floor without a mattress can cause different diseases such as bone ache etc. CWS-P/A plans to provide mattresses, pillow with a plastic mat to spread below the mattress to ensure prevention from diseases. Additionally to prevent the affected community from outbreak of water borne or communicable disease, provision of health and hygiene awareness sessions with hygiene kit are also considered essential.

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International Women’s Day

The International Women’s Day 2015 #Make it Happen represents a celebration of the achievements of women in Pakistan towards a more inclusive and equitable society. Partnership for Resilience (P4R) Pakistan marked the Day with a lively debate to raise awareness and encourage dialogue with all sectors of society around effective action for women’s empowerment.

The debate titled “Make it happen – All overseas development funding should address gender equality and gender based violence to build resilient and safe communities in Pakistan”, brought together key players involved in disaster and development in Pakistan including the government and civil and private sectors. Ms. Annette Hearns, Deputy Head UNOCHA, Mr Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO Pakistan Pverty Alleviation Fund, Ms Abida Akram, National Forum for Women with Disabilities/STEP, Ms Khalida Salimi, OBE, Founder/Executive Director SACH, Ms Mossarrat Qadeem, Executive Director, Paiman Alumini Trust, Ms Asiya Nasir, Member National Assembly  were actively involved in making the event a success.  Ms Asiya Nasir was also the chief guest at the occasion.

Addressing the occasion, Chief Executive Officer, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Qazi Azmat Isa, focused on the empirical link between gender related outcomes and improved socio-economic indicators, emphasizing on Pakistan’s lack of progress on Human Development Index indicators as we feature amongst the lowest 10 countries on the continuum. He referred to both religious and traditional values that encourage rather than hinder such outcomes, particularly while working with rural communities. He referred to Pakistan’s position on achieving the Millennium Development Goals and commented on how working through deliberate, gender centered outcomes would greatly improve this.

The debate centered on the facts that in early recovery programmes, only 22 per cent of funds from cash contributions were directly disbursed to women in 2013 while more than 75 per cent of the 80 million people projected to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2014 were women and children.

P4R support the many voices now being heard in Pakistan advocating for improvement in women and girls’ equality and one who stands out as  an example of who ‘made it happen’ is Malala Yousafzai, joint winner of the 2014 Nobel peace prize for her education campaign work.

P4R is an alliance of seven NGOs working together in Pakistan to improve the lives of vulnerable and marginalized segments of the population in times of disaster and post disaster. By working for and through local communities P4R builds the capacity of communities to be more resilient in time of disaster and enable them to recover quicker.

“2015 is a critical year for gender equality, as this year global leaders will conclude three key global processes that set the development agenda for the next 15 years: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) following Millennium Development Goals, the post 2015 Hyogo Framework 2, and the Climate Change agenda. This is a unique opportunity for us to urge our Governments to ensure gender equality is not forgotten and call for a standalone goal on gender to be set in the SDGs, with clear targets and indicators for women’s empowerment and participation. This must, I feel, go further, with gender specific commitments cutting across all SDG goals and each of the 3 global processes. This is an opportune time for the Government of Pakistan to take up the banner for gender equality and champion it on the global stage”, said Neva Khan, Country Director of VSO and Chair of the P4R Steering Committee.

Each year, since 1911, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women across the world. International Women’s day is also known for its #Paint it purple tag where the colour purple represents justice and dignity, two values upheld by P4R and used by all organizations in solidarity as we call for greater equality.

Background: A large number of losses are reported from across Afghanistan due to heavy rain, snow fall, avalanches and flash floods. According to media reports at least 286 people have died, 3715 families in all 19 provinces have been severely affected, based on ANDMA/OCHA report. The figures are still not confirmed as the rescue operation and assessment is still going on in Panjsher, Parwan and other provinces, and even access to some of the area is still difficult due to heavy snowfall and blockage of primary and secondary roads throughout the countries in recent days. Majority of the deaths are reported from Panjsher in central region. On March 1, 2015 Salang pass was reopened for passengers and heavy vehicle traffic, additionally the Ministry of Public Works is also working to clear secondary roads in Panjsher. With a possibility of more avalanches in Arib Valley of Pryan district, authorities are now working to clear debris and restore power supplies.

In Parwan, Kabul, Kapisa and Wardak several houses are destroyed due to flooding. Livestock losses are also reported in central highlands, besides avalanches have been triggered by heavy snow combined with rain. Primary roads in Bamyan’s Panjab, Yakawalang, Ashterlay, Khidir, and Sang-eTakht in Daykundi are closed.

Eastern Region: Within the districts of Nangarhar, Nuristan, Laghman and Kunar more than 1000 families are affected by rainfall, avalanches and floods. Till to date humanitarian agencies distributed NFIs and food supplies to 205 families and forty-two tents in districts of Nangarhar. Twenty-one NFI kits in Mehterlam and eighty NFI kits were distributed in Qarghayi district Laghman.

North Eastern Region: Most of the time in a year, seven districts of Badakhshan province are closed due to heavy snowfall and bad roads. Due to recent snow three other district roads have also been closed. An avalanche reported in one of the villages of Maimai district, claimed nine lives and destroyed eight houses completely. In Takhar the government plans to use helicopters to distribute cash assistance to affected families and transfer food, but to date the weather has not been conducive for the flights to take place.

Western Region: Overall 116 families affected by snow and twenty-eight families affected by flood were reported in Badghis province. Three houses completely destroyed and a number of casualties were reported from Ghor province. Due to heavy snow fall roads are blocked which became a hindrance to conduct assessments. According to ANDMA fifty-four families identified for food and NFIs distribution in Farah province and 136 families affected by flooding across Hirat province are receiving humanitarian assistance.

CWS-P/A Response: CWS-P/A emergency response team is on alert and coordinating with ANDMA, OCHA, IOM and other relevant organizations and stakeholders. Our response is planned based on the current needs, however the existing emergency need is high and also changing with time. CWS-P/A plans to target vulnerable families in two most affected provinces of Panjsher and Parwan by providing food ration for three months, nonfood item packages, health and hygiene kits along with awareness raising sessions.

Heavy rains, snowfall, avalanches and flash floods have led to loss of lives, injuries and destroyed a significant number of houses across Afghanistan. The central and northeast regions appear to be most affected, with strong winds causing avalanches in Salang pass, Panjsher and Bamyan provinces. However, it is expected that rain will convert to snow from west to east across Afghanistan due to colder air in the region. Weather forecasts indicate further precipitation and temperature to fall to -7ºC in central Afghanistan and -12ºC in the central highlands. While the numbers of casualties and damages reported by the local and international media are unconfirmed since rescued personnel are yet to reach the worst affected areas.

Additionally, heavy loss of agricultural infrastructure and livestock is also reported from different parts of the affected provinces. Several assessment missions are taking place across the country to develop a more accurate picture of the loss and impact on humanitarian needs, including the number of people affected. Currently humanitarian assistance is ongoing in accessible areas.

North Eastern Region: At least twenty people are killed; nine injured and ninety-one houses are buried in different incidents of heavy snowfall and avalanches in north eastern region of Afghanistan. Affected provinces in the region include Badakhshan and Takhar.

Eastern Region: Eighteen people are killed; four injured and more than 340 houses are damaged in different parts of the eastern region. Affected provinces include Nangarhar, Nuristan, Laghman and Kunar.

Central Region: One hundred and sixty-eight people killed, fifty injured and hundreds are still missing in incidents of flooding. One hundred and ninety-nine houses are completely destroyed while 364 houses are severely damaged.

Western Region: Flash floods and snow storms affected 254 families in Hirat, Ghor and Badghis provinces. CWS-P/A Response:CWS-P/A is monitoring the situation and will plan its response accordingly.

CWS-P/A Response: CWS-P/A is monitoring the situation and will plan its response accordingly.

Sources: UNOCHA Afghanistan