Flooding kills 11 children in Afghan provinces, UNICEF reports
Some 256 people have reportedly died so far from heavy rains, up by 75 per cent over last year. Like in neighbouring Pakistan, limited financial aid is complicating an already disastrous situation. Humanitarian worker fears the coming winter. Meanwhile, AsiaNews has launched a fundraising campaign for Pakistan.
Kabul (AsiaNews) – Like Pakistan, floods have hit neighbouring Afghanistan in recent weeks.
On 25 August, the Taliban-led government reported that at least 180 people died from the floods, including 11 children, UNICEF reported. According to other data, the death toll stands at 256 people so far this year, up by 75 per cent over last year.
Heavy rains have swept away more than 3,000 homes, killing thousands of livestock, exacerbating the country's humanitarian and economic crisis.
“Nangarhar province in the eastern region and Logar province in the central region were most heavily affected,” said Veronica Houser, a member of UNICEF’s Afghanistan communications team, speaking to AsiaNews.
“Paktika and Khost provinces – the two provinces affected by the June earthquake – have also been affected by the recent floods,” she explained.
In total, some 2,300 families, more than 16,000 people, have been affected in Nangarhar, plus another 3,000 families, around 20,000 people, in Logar.
UNICEF Afghanistan moved immediately on the ground, mobilising “10 mobile health and nutrition teams which are providing healthcare and nutrition services to mothers and children, such as first aid and trauma care, vaccinations for young children,” Houser said.
“We are trucking in clean, drinkable water where communities no longer have access to water points or safe natural sources.” In addition, “We are distributing kits full of essential hygiene items [. . .], plus ‘family kits’ which include kitchen equipment”.
The tragic situation is compounding the humanitarian catastrophe that followed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on 15 August last year.
Nevertheless, “With our partners, we are rebuilding community education classes which were destroyed in the floods, so that children can keep learning despite the destruction.”
More generally, “In the rest of the country, this year UNICEF aims to reach 15 million people, including eight million children, with humanitarian assistance.
“Our priorities include treating children with severe acute malnutrition, vaccinating children against measles, providing safe water, helping children resume learning,” Houser explained.
“We aim to not only save lives today, but ensure that communities are also supported in the long term.”
However, access to financial resources continues to be very complicated. “International sanctions, suspension of funding, and donor conditionalities have pushed critical systems – like health services – which have historically relied on external support – to the brink of collapse. This is having a devastating effect on families who are being crushed by hunger and poverty.”
To help deal with the situation, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution that provides for a humanitarian exemption to the sanctions to allow humanitarian aid to reach Afghanistan.
Consequently, “UNICEF has appealed for a record $ 2 billion in 2022 to reach our targeted 15 million people with humanitarian assistance, but as of today, this appeal is only 40 per cent funded”, so “with winter just around the corner, we are particularly concerned,” Houser explained.
In recent days, AsiaNews has decided to expand its AN05 campaign – already in place to support Pakistani kiln factory workers – to include flood victims in Pakistan.
Donations can be made online here or through the methods below, ALWAYS INDICATING AN05 PAKISTAN EMERGENCY as the reason:
- Online payment by credit card (Visa, Cartasì, Mastercard, American Express) or PayPal
- Bank transfer payable to Fondazione Pime Onlus, Crédit Agricole – IBAN IT89M0623001633000015111283
Please always send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm the transfer, with your name, address, fiscal code if a resident of Italy (or social security/national insurance number in other countries or equivalent), as well as place and date of birth. This information is needed to obtain a tax credit receipt.
- Postal account No. 39208202 made out to Fondazione Pime Onlus.
- Cheque or bank draft made out to Fondazione Pime Onlus, mailed to Fondazione Pime Onlus, via Monte Rosa, 81 – 20149 Milan, Italy