FEATURE STORY

Laying the Building Blocks of Resilience in Afghanistan

December 21, 2015

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In October of 2015, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit north-eastern Afghanistan, claiming 117 lives and injuring hundreds. More than 20,000 homes were damaged across several provinces, and hundreds of thousands were left in need of humanitarian assistance – a challenge made more difficult by the lack of accessibility throughout the region.

Afghanistan is highly exposed to natural hazards. Flooding and avalanches caused by heavy rains and snowfall earlier in 2015 affected over 8,000 families and claimed nearly 300 lives. In spite of these recurring events, the country lacks adequate mechanisms for response and recovery, putting many lives and livelihoods at risk.

To help respond to these needs, the World Bank Disaster Risk Management Hub, Tokyo (DRM Hub, Tokyo) is supporting the Government of Afghanistan with a US$ 2.5 million grant through Japan-World Bank Program for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in Developing Countries (Japan Program).


" This is a critical time for the disaster risk reduction (DRR) agenda in Afghanistan as we work towards building core disaster risk capacity and implementation with government institutions and other stakeholders. The World Bank, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the Government of Japan are key partners to the Government in this effort as they bring not only their expertise in this sector, but also their generous support to the Afghan people. "
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Wais Ahmad Barmak

Minister of State for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, Government of Afghanistan

The World Bank’s South Asia Disaster and Climate team is implementing the project, in partnership with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). The project will establish three key building blocks for resilient development:

  1. A national strategic framework for DRM
  2. A nationwide disaster risk assessment and open-access data portal
  3. A roadmap for effective early warning
     

National Framework for DRM: Building Government Ownership and Action

Managing crisis situations is particularly challenging in Afghanistan, given the remoteness of many settlements and poor transport connectivity. Ongoing instability and insecurity means that many development partners cannot always respond. Investing in the capacity of the Afghan government and local non-governmental organizations is therefore particularly important to make sure help reaches those in need.

The project is helping the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) and the new Minister of State for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs to establish basic human and functional capacity to mobilize response teams and coordinate risk reduction efforts across government. This will include a training program for key officials on fundamentals of DRM. The program is working in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and a number of other development partners with existing or future plans to support ANDMA.
 

Disaster Risk Assessment and Open-Access Data Portal: Analytics for Investment in Resilience

Development partners, working through programs such as the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, are funding major reconstruction and infrastructure development throughout the country. One such example is construction of a major new road corridor in the Hindu Kush region. These investments often lack access to robust information on natural hazard risks, which can limit long term resilience.

The project will conduct a nationwide risk assessment that will result in the first national-level hazard, exposure and risk maps for all key hazards, including flash floods, avalanches, landslides and earthquakes. This exercise will deliver key analytical inputs for national and local decision making, and to define implications for infrastructure investments like the Hindukush road corridor and other key roads, river basins and urban areas.

An international consortium of experts is implementing the assessment in partnership with local technical institute, Afghanistan Information Management Services (AIMS) and other key data providers, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
 

Roadmap for Effective Early Warning: Coping with Extreme Weather Events

Finally, DRM Hub, Tokyo's support is helping stakeholders involved in the hydro-met and early warning value chain to set out a practical road map for investing in improved weather, climate and hydrological services and early warning. The project is supporting ANDMA, Ministry of Roads and Rural Development (early warning), Ministry of Energy and Water (hydrology), the Afghanistan Meteorological Authority (meteorology), Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (agro-met) and Ministry of Public Works (avalanches) as the stakeholders currently involved in data collection, service development and service provision. The World Bank is implementing the project in close cooperation with JICA, through their Project for Capacity Enhancement on Hydro-Meteorological Information Management.

There are urgent needs for strengthening delivery of hydro-met services by investing in key aspects of the hydro-met infrastructure, including real-time access to data and forecasting systems and a significant capacity building program, in addition to high-level agreement on inter-ministerial coordination to operationalize a data sharing platform.

In summary, by catalyzing a stronger, more systematic approach to disaster risk management throughout the country, this grant will be instrumental in helping Afghanistan achieve lasting disaster resilience, safeguarding development gains and securing a safer, more prosperous future.

 

Japan-World Bank Program for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in Developing Countries




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