The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Afghanistan, on Sunday was introduced as an agency specializing in emergency management and the built environment.
Onno Ruhl, the General Manager of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), said the program has helped promote standard dwellings for returnees and helped those living in remote regions to find adequate shelter.
“All these activities I mentioned would be highly relevant in Afghanistan at the present time - that’s why we are here today. We are here because of all of us at AKDN believe that Afghanistan is one of the most important countries in the world for Aga Khan Agency for Habitat to deliver its mandate.
"We want to build on 22 years of FOCUS’s excellent work, to make remote communities in the mountains of the Hindukush not just safe but for them to thrive. We want to deepen our partnership with the government and in particularly with ANDMA for even greater impact on all Afghanistan,” said Ruhl.
Afghan officials welcome the move and pointed out that Afghanistan deals with a wide range of regular natural disasters.
“We are in the first or second position among ten countries which have a lot of natural disasters,” said State Minister For Natural Disaster Management Najib Aqa Fahim.
“Restoring degraded land means better lives and incomes for farmers and pastoralists and less pressure on people to migrate to cities. We see this ethic of partnership,” said Nurjehan Mawani, the Ambassador the AKDN in Afghanistan.
“We can see some very alarming numbers that are coming from various reports, based on the World Bank and the The Global Facility for Disaster reduction and recovery report which was produced in 2017; we can see that in Afghanistan annually we have 560 people on average who lose their lives due to earthquakes; floods are threatening their lives and poverty is also impacting 800,000 people.
“Based on the report, 10,000 kilometers of roads in Afghanistan is under threat of avalanches which happen every year; the effect of drought is very significant. Based on a report, $280 million in agricultural losses are sustained annually and if you go to rural areas, the impact is indeed very challenging,” said Shodmon Hojibekov, CEO of Aga Khan Foundation for Habitat.
In Afghanistan, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) − previously Focus Humanitarian Assistance − engages with communities living in remote mountainous areas to increase their resilience to natural disasters and complex emergencies.
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat also supports communities to utilize an enabling habitat to enhance their health, education and economic development.
The approach is to predict where possible potential emergencies may impact homes and livelihoods, identify structural and non-structural interventions that can prevent or mitigate the impact of those hazards, and to build the capacities of communities and local and national governments to reduce their vulnerability to risk and to increase their capacities to help their neighbors.
To enable this, AKAH implements a wide range of disaster prevention and response initiatives in local communities, including disaster preparedness training, vulnerability assessments, risk mitigation activities and disaster relief efforts.