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FOCUS HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance is an international group of agencies established to compliment and facilitate the provision of emergency humanitarian assistance in specific regions of Africa and Asia. This global institution with an international mandate, seeks to enable the local jamats to prepare for hazards, respond to crisis situations, and where possible, to avert disaster or minimize its impact. FOCUS meets its challenging and growing mandate through the dedication, energy and intellect of hundreds of volunteers and professionals who form the backbone of FOCUS.

FOCUS is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The units of FOCUS are incorporated in Canada (1994), Europe (1996), United States (1996) and Pakistan (1998). Each unit has a Board of Directors and Managements. The FOCUS International Coordinating Committee coordinates their activities on global level. FOCUS has progressively refined its capability to mobilize local manpower and other resources to permit prompt needs assessments and distribution of emergency relief supplies to the Afghan refugees. Their service includes provision of food, primary health care, education and assistance in moving from refugee camps to permanent housing.

On April 3, 2002, the Humanitarian organizations continue to provide aid in clearing up the aftermath of the earthquake in the Afghan town of Nahrin. The delivery of aid to the region is being complicated by the difficult accessibility of the regions, mines, poor sanitary conditions and changeable weather. After a meeting with the local authorities in Nahrin, which took place on 29 March, FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance is also implementing an emergency programme to resolve the problems of drinking water and sanitation.

In the delivery of food supplies, FOCUS works with World Food Program of the United Nations in Kabul and Badakhshan, and to address malaria cases with the World Health Organization. Other partner organizations include the Afghan Red Crescent Society, OXFAM, Afghan Aid International Committee of the Red Cross, and the AKDN institutions, particularly the Pamir Relief Development Program. FOCUS is also involved in the distribution of educational supplies such as paper, desks and chairs for children and in the distribution of shoes for children. FOCUS employs local citizens to carry out its programs, in an effort to build local capacity and create self-sufficiency. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) is a relatively new technology by which a network of satellites in space transmits constant signals to hand-held receivers, which capture the position of the operator on the earth's surface to provide co-ordinates. GPS is used to identify land features, such as highways, schools, etc., and is useful for identifying areas that may be affected by natural disasters. FOCUS seeks to provide emergency humanitarian relief and assistance. It is a crisis management and response agency established by the Ismaili community to provide emergency assistance at times of natural and human-induced disasters and facilitate the resettlement and rehabilitation of displaced people impacted by these crisis. FOCUS provides assistance to families who have lost or have had to leave their homes during a crisis, with a view to helping them return when the situation is stabilized, or to helping them resettle elsewhere if this is not possible. It works with governments and other agencies to co-ordinate and delivers humanitarian relief assistance and service. It also undertakes disaster preparedness effort, identifies areas where the community resides that may be most at risk, and assist local populations irrespective of cast and creed to mobilize resources and prevent or better manage crisis situations.


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