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160530Z PRT NANGARHAR, Returning Refugee Site Assessments
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DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY PRT Jalalabad APO AE 09354 16 October 2007 MEMORANDUM THRU Civil Affairs OIC, PRT Jalalabad, APO AE 09354 Commander, PRT Jalalabad, APO AE 09354 SUBJECT: Trip Report for US Embassy Refugee Coordinator visit 1. SUMMARY. Civil Affairs (CA), the US Embassy Refugee Coordinator, Allison Areias and the Refugee Specialist, Naseer Ayanee attended meetings at UNHCR (42S XD 32151 11359) and the Deputy Governors office (42S XD 33655 11463) as well as conducted site visits in Shiek Misri New Township (SMNT) (42S XD 21482 05102). 2. BACKGROUND a. General. The US Embassy Population Refugee and Migration (PRM) section has a $50 Million re-settlement project (SMNT) implemented through UNHCR as well as the possibility of more projects in the future. The Refugee Coordinator, Allison, is conducting a site survey to check on the status of this investment in Nangarhar Province. The Refugee Coordinator is also conducting an assessment on the need of additional returnee projects in Nangarhar Province. b. Mission Specifics. (1) The meeting at UNHCR was attended by Fumiko, UNHCR Program Coordinator-Jalalabad Office; Allison Areias, Refugee Coordinator; Naseer Ayanee, Refugee Specialist; Abdul Rahman Shams, Director of Refugees and Returnees; Stephen Allen, UNHCR Field Officer-Kabul; Tessa Valk, UNHCR External Relations Officer-Kabul and Igor Sotirovic, UNHCR Protection Officer. This meeting was very short and was used to give the Refugee Coordinator an overview of DoRR and UNHCRs progress in SMNT. (2) The attendees at the UNHCR meeting were also in attendance at the Deputy Governors office. The Deputy Governors top three priorities for SMNT are: 1) a road to connect SMNT with Jalalabad City; 2) constructing enough shelter in a timely manner for the returnees and 3) having enough income generating activities in SMNT. The Deputy Governor believes that if enough job opportunities are not available then the working age population may get involved in less desirable activities. The Deputy Governor also spoke briefly about education in SMNT as well as the plan for the commercial (industrial) area in SMNT. The Deputy Governor is working with the Director of Urban Development to plan the location and set-up of the commercial zone. (3) The site visit to SMNT consisted of many stops within the Township, but only for short durations. The stops included the International Medical Corps (IMC) sponsored clinic, a survey of the 4th phase of construction of the township, a solar project and the cattle feeding mill. At each stop, Fumiko gave Allison a brief synopsis of what the status of the project is and what the next phase will be. The longest stop was the first stop at the IMC clinic. A small shura took place that involved the US Embassy personnel, the UNHCR personnel, IMC workers from the clinic and local members of the community. The same needs that the Deputy Governor discussed earlier in the day were brought again by local leaders and workers at the clinic. The number one priority was the road that connects SMNT to Jalalabad City. 3. Additional Data and Analysis SMNT is the only government approved re-settlement area in Nangarhar and in the Eastern Region. More and more returnees are coming back to Afghanistan on a daily basis. There have already been over 200,000 returnees that have come back to Nangarhar Province alone in the last year. SMNT has a current population of approximately 630 families. There is enough space in SMNT for about 10,000 family plots, but there are only 1,200 plots that have been awarded to returnees. The Afghan government and UNHCR are looking at starting another re-settlement area in Laghman Province just off of HWY 1 to ease the burden on SMNT. Accessibility is an issue for the residents of SMNT and until a better road is constructed to connect SMNT to Jalalabad City, most of the locals income will be spent on transportation to the city for work. 4. Point of Contact for this memorandum is CPT Middleton at DSN 481-7341. Maurice Z. Middleton CPT, CA CAT-B Team Leader