Global response to Afghan disaster

Written by The Frontier Post

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov has appealed for greater international aid for the country, after he visited communities affected by last week’s disastrous earthquake. According to details, UN top official visited earthquake hit provinces along with the leaders of the various UN agencies working in Afghanistan including UNHCR, UN migration agency (UNIOM), FAO, WHO, WFP, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Women, and the UN humanitarian affairs office (OCHA). The UN Deputy Special Representative was of the view that the recent visit reaffirmed to him both the extreme suffering of people in Afghanistan and their tremendous resolve in the face of great adversity. According to him, the UN and partners have developed a three-month emergency appeal, included within their humanitarian plan for Afghanistan this year, to respond to the catastrophe. Their goal is to scale up and expedite the delivery of humanitarian and resilience assistance to nearly 362,000 people in the two provinces, Paktika and Khost, that were most affected by the 6.1 magnitude earthquake last week.

A week has passed after Afghanistan’s three Eastern provinces were jolted by a devastating earthquake, which badly destroyed thousands of houses, government buildings, and damaged road infrastructure in the region. According to the statistics shared by the Afghan government, the earthquake killed about 1150 people and injured more than 1600 Afghans, while an unprecedented blow completely destroyed more than 3,000 houses and another 10,000 homes were damaged partially.

The NGOs and UN humanitarian organizations already tackling the famine crisis in the country, had shifted the direction of their activities toward rescue and relief operations in the earthquake hit zones. Several countries including Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey, the United States and others had made pledges for the provision of humanitarian aid to earthquake hit country, while Afghan authorities had confirmed that international aid had started arriving in the affected areas. Presently, poor communication and a lack of road infrastructure are hampering the ongoing relief efforts in Paktika, Nangarhar, and Khost provinces bordering Pakistan. According to the Afghan government, the 90% search and rescue operations have been completed, however, Afghan troops and rescue workers are reaching out to far flung mountainous areas to ascertain losses and provide assistance to the people in need.

The recent disaster has multiplied the problems and added to the worries of the Taliban government, which is still unrecognised by the entire world and already battling with multiple issues including financial and economic upheaval, a countrywide hunger crisis and armed insurgencies in some parts of the country. Afghan authorities are repeatedly making calls for international aid and promising not to interfere in the work of international efforts to provide relief to those affected by the temblor.

The Afghan nation has struck another distress in the shape of a deadly earthquake, while an ill-organized and poorly resourced Afghan government is incompetent to mitigate the effects of the disaster. In fact, the global community has always displayed generosity in helping Afghans throughout the Afghan conflict since the early 80s. The UN Special Representative has categorically sensitised the world about the gravity of the situation, hopefully the global community will respond to this call while keeping aside all political differences with the Taliban, because humanity is above all prejudices, politics and rivalries in the world.

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The Frontier Post