Aid agencies mobilize to respond to floodings in Afghanistan – Vatican News – English

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UNICEF and other aid agencies are sending relief teams and desperately needed humanitarian aid to northeastern Afghanistan where unusually heavy rains have killed at least 300 people, sweeping away homes and damaging vital farmland.

By Lisa Zengarini

At least 300 people, including dozens of children, and more than 1,600 have been injured by flash floods in northeastern Afghanistan.  

Call for humanitarian aid

Most casualties were reported in Baghlan province, where, according to UNICEF,  the heavy rains destroyed around 3,000 homes, damaged farmland, swept away livestock, closed schools and damaged health centres. Aid group Save the Children said about 600,000 people, half of them children, live in the five districts in Baghlan. The provinces of Takhar and Badakhshan were also affected and initial reports say at least 300 houses damaged.

In a statement, the Taliban’s economy minister, Din Mohammad Hanif,  urged the United Nations, humanitarian agencies and private business to provide support for those hit by the disaster.

Arshad Malik, country director for Save the Children confirmed that families who are still reeling from the economic impacts of three years of drought urgently need assistance. “The flash floods tore through villages, sweeping away homes and killing livestock. Children have lost everything.,”, he said.

Aid from UNICEF, WHO and Save the Children 

Along with World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, Save the Children, is one of several international aid organizations that are sending relief teams, medicines, blankets and other supplies.

The World Health Organization said it delivered 7 tons of medicines and emergency kits. UNICEF has sent 450 family kits, 500 hygiene kits, 476 blankets for adults and babies and 100 clothing kits to complement the support provided by other UN agencies and partners. A UNICEF mobile health and nutrition team has also been deployed and UNICEF teams are on the ground to help conduct further assessments.

 “The heavy rains and resulting flooding have disrupted lives and pose a significant risk to children in the affected provinces,” explained  Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan. “As families cope with loss, it is vital that they maintain access to safe water, health and protection services. As always, UNICEF stands with the children and people of Afghanistan during this difficult time,” he said.

More extreme weather incidents due to climate change

Afghanistan is prone to natural disasters and the United Nations considers it one of countries most vulnerable to climate change. It has battled a shortfall in aid after the Taliban took over as foreign forces withdrew in 2021, since development aid that formed the backbone of government finances was cut. That has worsened in subsequent years as foreign governments grapple with competing global crises and growing condemnation of the Taliban’s  regime crackdown on Afghan women.

Source: UNICEF and news agencies

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