When disaster strikes, the most urgent task for emergency responders is to restore access to safe drinking water to stave off waterborne disease outbreaks that often follow. Afghanistan is extremely prone to disasters, both natural and man-made. In April and May of 2014, 17 provinces in northern Afghanistan experienced the worst seasonal flooding in 100 years. The floods killed more than 200 people, wiped out homes, and destroyed or contaminated wells and other sources of water. In 2015, the humanitarian disaster was compounded by heavy rain and snowfall that caused avalanches, landslides, flash floods, and almost 300 additional fatalities. Making matters worse, the ongoing armed conflict in Afghanistan has created a growing population of internally displaced persons — civilians who have fled their homes to escape the violence.
To help those who live in these vulnerable conditions, USAID in partnership with three international aid organizations — UNICEF, the French NGO ACTED, and the Dutch relief organization ZOA — launched a multipronged relief initiative to provide emergency water, hygiene, and sanitation in the areas hit hardest.