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Afghanistan: UN agencies, local authorities agree to relief plan for blast victims

Afghanistan: UN agencies, local authorities agree to relief plan for blast victims

United Nations agencies and Afghan authorities have agreed to a plan to help the victims of last Friday's explosion near Jalalabad, which levelled virtually the entire neighbouring village.

A committee chaired by the head of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, and including representatives from the Ministry of Public Health, the UN and local authorities, met at the request of the Governor’s Office to discuss the assistance needed for the victims of the blast at the Afghan Construction and Logistic Unit warehouse, a spokesman for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Sunday.

The explosion, which killed 11 people, including four children and one woman, damaged 80 per cent of the village of Darwanta. The UN family, working on a planning figure of 158 families, or approximately 1,264 persons, agreed to provide through the UN World Health Organization (WHO) medicines for the nearby health facility based at the university, spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will supply 100 blankets, 150 plastic mats, 200 soaps, 150 jerry cans and 20 plastic sheets, while the UN World Food Programme (WFP) will supply two months worth of food to the affected families, including wheat, lentils and oil. An international non-governmental organization (NGO) will also provide 21 tents and two bladders of water, each with a capacity of 1,000 litres.

According to Mr. de Almeida e Silva, local authorities agreed to provide storage space, staff for the medical facilities, and security before distribution begins by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society, and the Afghan Red Crescent Society. Representatives from the UN agencies and NGOs will be present to monitor distribution.

Investigations into the explosion by local authorities were ongoing, Mr. de Almeida e Silva said, adding that the main concern was the integrity of the buildings and the local security forces. "Local authorities are to protect the area from people circulating and avoid any kinds of accidents because the constructions are weak, are vulnerable as a result of the explosion," he said.