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Afghanistan earthquake response ignores people with disabilities: Human Rights Watch

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Ani | Update Date: July 11, 2022, 21:34 IST

Kabul [Afghanistan]July 11 (ANI): People with disabilities remain neglected in the wake of the earthquake that killed at least 1,000 people in eastern Afghanistan on June 22, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch. of more than 7,000 people have been killed in the past decade. With critical infrastructure such as water systems, schools and health facilities destroyed, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that US$110 million is needed to reach some 362,000 people in need. “Access to the region, food insecurity and malnutrition loomed large before the earthquake, but are now a more pressing issue. People with disabilities often face barriers in accessing humanitarian support such as food, sanitation and medical assistance, although they are highlighted in the In Afghanistan, post-earthquake data on the needs of people with disabilities is lacking, and many aid has been left out,” said Jonas Ball, associate researcher, Disability Rights Division at Human Rights Watch.

An Afghan woman who co-founded an organization led by people with disabilities who had to flee the country after the Taliban seized power in August 2021 told Jonas Paul, “I think people with disabilities have been left behind during the assistance and rescue programs because no one has tried to distinguish PWD among all Affected people.” According to a Human Rights Watch researcher, many survivors with disabilities, including those who developed disabilities due to the earthquake, now need urgent medical support for injuries, access to rehabilitation services, and assistive devices. The same organization is trying to help, but given the many people in need, it said the efforts amount to “a drop of rain for a thirsty person.” Gross human rights violations committed by the authorities, particularly against women and girls. “However, addressing humanitarian needs must remain separate from the politics of recognition and legitimacy of the Taliban. If not, people with disabilities and others at risk will bear the brunt of the crisis,” said Jonas Paul. He also added that humanitarian agencies responding to the earthquake must conduct Rapidly assess the needs of persons with disabilities to ensure humanitarian access for all without discrimination and consult with Afghan disability rights groups and experts on the most effective way to ensure persons with disabilities are included in humanitarian interventions.(Ani)

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