The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Concerns rising about potential increase in waterborne diseases in flood-affected areas

Following recent flash floods in most provinces of Afghanistan, where thousands of people have been displaced, concerns have increased about the potential increase in waterborne diseases. Care International in Afghanistan has expressed concern about the potential increase in waterborne diseases, such as measles and cholera, which must be prevented to avoid worsening the humanitarian situation in the country. “We are deeply saddened by the devastating impact of the recent flash floods that struck northeastern Afghanistan. We are particularly concerned about the impact on vulnerable communities, especially women and girls,” Care International said in a statement. “Our teams are on the ground, providing cash assistance to those affected, including women and girls. We are also concerned about the potential increase in waterborne diseases, such as measles and cholera, which must be prevented to avoid worsening the humanitarian situation,” said CARE Afghanistan Country Director Graham Davison According to Care Afghanistan Country Director, these floods come at a critical time when Afghanistan is facing an underfunded humanitarian crisis. With the Humanitarian Response Plan only 16% funded, the recent floods will worsen existing challenges, making it even harder for those who have lost their lands and assets to access shelter, food, and medicine.” Afghanistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters. In 2024, approximately 13,000 people have been affected by natural disasters. In the meantime, Indrika Ratwatte, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has said that Afghanistan contributes zero emissions but faces devastating climate impacts, stressing that despite Afghanistan contributing zero emissions, its people are facing devastating impacts from climate change. Most international organizations have taken part in providing urgent aids to the recent flood-affected families in Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces. World Health Organization (WHO) has followed with maintaining its active response to the flood emergency in northeastern Afghanistan by distributing essential medical supplies, including trauma kits and medications, to affected areas. According to WHO, efforts are also underway to enhance disease surveillance and coordinate access to safe water and sanitation facilities. These initiatives aim to mitigate the health impacts of floods and facilitate the rehabilitation of affected communities. On 10 and 11 May, heavy rainfall and flash floods struck northeastern Afghanistan, affecting 21 districts across Badakhshan, Baghlan, and Takhar provinces. The disaster has resulted in significant human impact, with 214 fatalities and 328 injuries confirmed, including 128 children under five and 202 women. Approximately 8,696 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving thousands without shelter. Critical infrastructure, including roads, bridges and health facilities has been damaged. Agricultural land and livestock have also suffered, with 470 dead livestock, 700 acres of damaged agricultural land, and 20km of damaged irrigation canals confirmed in the Baghlan-e-Jadid district alone. The districts of Burka and Nahrin are facing substantial access challenges, necessitating air transportation for assistance. Humanitarian aid distribution teams and warehouses have been established in affected provinces, with a joint UN action plan initiated on 15 May 2024. In response to these challenges, the collective efforts of WHO’s Health Emergency (WHE) team and the Health Cluster partners have been essential. Partners, including Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS), Organization for Relief, Development and Cooperation (ORCD), and JACK Kunduz, have mobilized significant response resources. Contributions from organizations like Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have further bolstered the health response capacity. Mashal Noori

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.