HI Country Director in Afghanistan Julio C. Ortiz-Arguedas explains the humanitarian in Afghanistan and how HI works since the change of regime in the country.
A devastated country
Most of HI's activities with the most vulnerable people in Afghanistan have resumed after a few days' interruption. Humanitarian needs are immense in a country devastated by decades of conflict that is one of the most heavily contaminated by explosive remnants of war and landmines in the world.
Today, 80% of the Afghan population has some form of disability due to the presence of mines and explosive remnants of war, armed conflicts and limited access to health services and food.
Activities resumed in Kandahar
The rehabilitation centre in Kandahar is HI's major activity in Afghanistan. HI set up this centre in 1996 and has been supporting it since.
We have been able to gradually resume activities. Since the Taliban took control of Kandahar on 13th August, the rehabilitation centre has served 240 men and 180 women, distributed 200 walking aids and fitted 50 people with orthotics or prosthetics.
These numbers represent a 50% increase over the average in the previous months: the end of the fighting, of the roadblocks and the increased security have allowed more people to access the centre.
However, our Kandahar Mobile Rehabilitation Team could not yet return to outreach work so it was deployed in the centre and, in that same week, was able to accommodate 117 people.
HI's team at the Kandahar centre
At the centre we have a total of 53 staff working to support people through rehabilitation and psychosocial support. The Kandahar Mobile Team is made up of an additional 15 staff.
People are coming to the centre every day, sometimes from very far away. We have had families who made a one day trip to come to get treatment - as it is the only rehabilitation centre for the south of the country.