In Afghanistan, two-thirds of the country are currently in a critical situation for water scarcity, with high demand for clean water and hygiene. There is an increased strain on urban water systems as people come in from rural areas, and on rural water systems as displaced people return. There is a high risk of aggravated failure in underlying infrastructure with the combination of drought and loss of development investment and expertise. There is also high risk of deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions resulting in a sharp increase in malnutrition and diseases such as cholera, particularly in urban areas and informal settlements.
IOM are providing sustained, safe and appropriate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services for internally displaced persons (IDPs), host communities and other crisis affected Afghan people, with a focus on vulnerable segments of the population including women and girls. WASH activities are contributing to immediate life-saving WASH assistance, as well as improvement of long-term public health outcomes, including preventing the transmission of infectious diseases, such as cholera/ acute-watery diarrhoea (AWD) and COVID-19.
To ensure sustained access to safe water, IOM is rehabilitating small water supply infrastructure and providing household water treatment items. IOM is also installing hand hygiene infrastructure, whilst delivering hygiene promotion and community awareness activities, focusing on infection, prevention and control (IPC) messaging such as proper handwashing, to reduce the risk of transmittable diseases, including cholera/AWD and COVID-19.
To support the improved access to safe water and improved hygiene practices, IOM is establishing and training community-led and gender-balanced WASH committees to lead the day-to-day operation and maintenance (O&M) of rehabilitated water supply schemes and installed hand hygiene infrastructure, as well as water quality monitoring of the water supply.
To ensure long-term sustainability of WASH interventions, IOM is procuring and pre-positioning WASH supplies to enable ongoing water supply infrastructure rehabilitation and provision of contextualised hygiene kits inclusive of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) items to ensure proper hygiene is maintained.
IOM WASH liaises closely with the National WASH Cluster to amplify the response capacity, allowing the WASH cluster partners to access IOM pre-positioned supplies, to assess, evaluate and provide the most appropriate solution to ensure WASH services are delivered.