A senior UN official in Afghanistan appealed on Sunday for greater international support for the country, after a one-day visit to communities hard-hit by Wednesday’s devastating earthquake.
“Yesterday’s visit reaffirmed to me both the extreme suffering of the people of Afghanistan and their immense determination in the face of great adversity,” said Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan.
The United Nations and its partners have developed a three-month emergency appeal, included in their humanitarian plan for Afghanistan this year, to respond to the disaster.
The aim is to increase and accelerate the delivery of humanitarian and resilience assistance to approximately 362,000 people in the hardest-hit Paktika and Khost provinces.
“Despite the tremendous generosity that donors have already shown to Afghanistan over the past ten turbulent months, I urge the international community to go deeper at this time, as the population faces another emergency, and pledge support to these life-saving people – to continue the efforts.
On Saturday, Dr. Al-Akbarov went to the villages of Mir Sahib and Khannadin, which are located in Jiyan district of Paktika province, one of the areas most affected by the 5.9-magnitude earthquake.
He was accompanied by representatives of the United Nations Refugee Agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Migration Agency, the International Organization for Migration, the World Food Program, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Women and the Food and Agriculture Organization . (FAO), United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA.
The delegation met the residents, many of whom have lost family members and friends, including many orphaned and separated children, whose homes are now uninhabitable.
Dr. said. Akbarov.
“Without this transitional support, women, men, and children will continue to endure needless and unimaginable hardships.”
OCHA reported that the full extent of the damage caused by the earthquake is not yet known, and assessments are still ongoing.
Preliminary results indicate that at least 235 people were killed in Ji’an District, including 134 children. Nearly 600 people were injured, including more than 200 children. More than 1,000 homes were destroyed and two schools damaged.
In all quake-affected areas, satellite images reveal damage to at least 2,000 homes more than 5 kilometers from a good road in the hardest-hit areas of Jayan and Barmal districts of Paktika province, and Spira district of Khost province.
Moreover, tens of thousands of homes still standing have suffered severe damage and are in danger of collapsing.
The earthquake occurred at a time when increasing restrictions on Afghan women and girls amplifying their needs and complicating efforts to help them.
Alison Davidian, Acting Country Representative for UN Women, explained that women and girls are disproportionately affected by the crisis.
“When their rights to move and work are restricted as in Afghanistan, they are disproportionately affected, particularly in access to food, health care and safe shelter,” she said.
Going forward, women humanitarians as well as women-led civil society groups must be at the center of the response.
“This is the only way to ensure that the needs and rights of women and girls at risk and affected by the crisis are identified and addressed,” she said. – UN News
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