KABUL, 2 August 2010 – UNICEF is distributing emergency assistance in the provinces that have been worst affected by recent floods, ensuring that the urgent needs of children are met.
The flooding follows torrential rains that have hit central and eastern parts of Afghanistan in the course of the last week. Afghan officials say the floods are the worst the region has experienced in more than 80 years, and further rain is forecast.
According to estimates by the Afghan Government the floods have left several thousand individuals homeless in northeast Kapisa, central Ghazni, Laghman, Nangarhar, Kunar, Logar, Khost and northern Parwan Provinces where over 4.000 houses have been destroyed. Much of the arable land and crops on which the local population relies have been devastated. The destruction of road and bridges by the heavy rainfall, combined with insecurity have hindered the response. The death toll so far is reported as 80.
As of today UNICEF has provided 430 tents to Nangarhar and Kunar Provinces. Water family kits, water storage items and chlorine for water purification for 2,000 families and high energy biscuits for 10.000 children under five and pregnant and lactating women are expected to reach Kapisa today.
“Children are always the most affected by emergencies. It is critical that they have access to clean water. They must be protected from the threat of diarrhoea and the outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles,” said UNICEF Country Representative in Afghanistan, Peter Crowley. “But we must not forget that other services such as education are to re-start as soon as possible, to help children regain a sense of normalcy.”
Working with the government of Afghanistan as well as other United Nations agencies and partners, UNICEF is responding to the hygiene, nutrition and primary health needs of up to 4,000 families in central and eastern regions. Oral rehydration salt to prevent diarrhoeal death, chlorine for water purification, high energy biscuits to cover immediate nutritional needs, and equipment for hygiene and water storage had already been prepositioned .earlier this year and are expected to reach the worst affected areas in the next 48 hours. A measles campaign is scheduled for the coming days.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments
For additional information, please contact:
Farida Ayari, UNICEF Kabul,
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York,
Tel + 1 212 326 7426,