Since its establishment 20 years ago, FOCUS Afghanistan, in coordination with the Government of Afghanistan, and other international organisations has responded to hundreds of incidents and natural disasters. Disaster preparedness is a key component of FOCUS’ work, and the organisation works on community based preparedness projects to improve the capacity and coping mechanisms of communities to respond to natural disasters.
Through the years, FOCUS has further strengthened its response capacity by establishing, training and equipping disaster response teams through working with focal points in villages and schools in the region.
Over the last five years FOCUS Afghanistan has responded to 121 incidents, and has assisted 46,491 individuals.
Major accomplishments of FOCUS in disaster response and preparedness include:
- Avalanche Preparedness: The FOCUS Afghanistan team provided training on avalanche safety in 193 villages, distributing avalanche preparedness toolkits and reaching over 900 people. FOCUS Afghanistan also set up 17 weather monitoring posts, and trained 51 people on collecting weather monitoring data. This data is collected, and analysed by FOCUS, who can then make predictions about the likelihood of avalanches occurring. Based on this avalanche warning messages were sent to 160 villages in 2015;
- Emergency Stockpiles: FOCUS manages 28 emergency stockpiles, across five provinces of Afghanistan. These stockpiles can provide for 2,054 families in the most at risk areas.
- Food for Work/Food for Assets: In partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), FOCUS has run this programme for the last three years, and in 2015 distributed 2,283 metric tonnes of food to 14,354 families in Badakhshan;
- Call Centre Facility: FOCUS Afghanistan runs a 24 hour a day operation centre, which collects information from 350 villages on a daily basis, and complies a daily situation report, monitoring the occurrences of natural disasters, security incidences and local weather conditions. In order to set up this communications network, FOCUS distributed communications equipment to 134 villages, set up 17 weather monitoring stations and trained 51 people in collecting data from these weather monitoring stations;
- Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs): Conducted capacity building trainings and established and equipped 461 CERTs bringing together a total of over 10,492 members (with just over 40 per cent constituting of women), in four provinces, Samangan, Takhar, Badakhshan and Baghlan;
- Search and Rescue Team: FOCUS has trained one Search and Rescue Team, in Faizabad, Badakhshan.