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Four children die in flash floods as Afghanistan marks one year of Taliban rule

Four children and nine adults have died after torrential rain and flash flooding hit Afghanistan’s eastern provinces on Monday, destroying homes and leaving at least 4,000 people in need of urgent assistance, Save the Children said today. 
17 August 2022

The flash floods came as Afghanistan marked one year of Taliban rule and as the country continues to grapple with the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with almost half of the population going hungry, including 6 million children and adults who are on the brink of famine.[i]
 
Save the Children teams have been meeting with families in Nangarhar province – the worst-hit area – in the past 24 hours to assess the damage and to launch a response. They said homes, schools and other vital infrastructure have been damaged, including water sources and irrigation systems.
 
The flash floods follow months of flooding across the southern and eastern regions of the country, which is very uncommon for this time of year. In July, floods killed at least 39 people and impacted more than 10,000 children and adults.[ii] Meanwhile, other areas of the country are still struggling to survive Afghanistan’s worst drought in 30 years.
 
Chris Nyamandi, Save the Children Country Director in Afghanistan, said:
 
“Children and their families in Afghanistan’s eastern provinces had no time to prepare as torrents of water surged through their homes, destroying their belongings and leaving their houses full of mud and rubbish. Many families are now living out in the open, exposed to harsh conditions. 
 
“Water supplies in the flood-hit areas have been contaminated, which places children at great risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera. When a disease outbreak hits during a disaster like this, it’s a race against time to help children survive. Thousands of children will need support in the coming hours, days and weeks to recover.
 
“Life for Afghan children is just a relentless cycle of disaster after disaster. Children will not survive these ongoing natural disasters – which will continue to increase in severity and frequency as climate change takes hold – or the wider humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, unless urgent action is taken. 
 
“The international community must provide immediate emergency funding and find a way to address the economic crisis, which is the key driver of the humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan. If world leaders do not heed our calls for support, millions of children will lose their lives.”
 
Save the Children is rapidly preparing emergency supplies in Nangarhar province and will provide families who have lost everything in the floods with essential items, such as clothing and shoes for children and adults, kitchen and cooking equipment, blankets, baby supplies and hygiene items to prevent the spread of diseases.
 
Save the Children has worked in Afghanistan since 1976, including during periods of conflict, regime change, and natural disasters. We have programmes in nine provinces and work with partners in an additional six provinces.
   
ENDS
 
MEDIA CONTACT: Holly Robertson on 0414 546 656 or media.team@savethechildren.org.au.
 
NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • The provinces impacted by yesterday’s floods include Nangahar, Laghman and Kunar. In Nangahar, more than 430 homes have been either totally destroyed or damaged and 3,800 people have been impacted. Save the Children’s teams are currently conducting assessments in Laghman and Kunar to determine children’s needs.

[i]The Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) is an internationally recognised famine early-warning system, based on a scale from 1 (minimal food stress) to 5 (catastrophe/famine). According to the IPC report: 18.9M people (9.2 M children) are projected to face high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 and above) between June and Nov 2022. There are 5.97 million people currently in ICP 4, one level below IPC 5, which is famine.

[ii] UNICEF: https://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/unicef-afghanistan-humanitarian-situation-report-8-1-31-july-2022.

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