Afghanistan: UN airlifts aid to flood victims, faces severe shortfall for drought relief

Afghanistan: UN airlifts aid to flood victims, faces severe shortfall for drought relief

United Nations agencies in Afghanistan moved on three fronts today, airlifting emergency aid to nearly 6,000 flood victims, staging the latest phase of a polio vaccination campaign targeting 7.2 million children, and warning that 2 to 3 million people will be “severely affected” if a $48 million shortfall in food assistance is not met.

The helicopter operation, begun at the weekend, continued today to aid communities in Badghis province where flooding has left 58 people dead and some 100 missing, and affected some 5,500 others people, with solid coordination between the Government, the UN, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the international security force known as ISAF.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) has dispatched medical teams and 13 tons of medical supplies, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has rushed in 30 tonnes of mixed food aid, and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is sending supplies, including 3,200 jackets and 15 drums of chlorine powder, UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan UNAMA) spokesman Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Kabul, the capital.

Meanwhile, WHO and UNICEF, together with Rotary International and other partners, are supporting the latest three-day round of the polio vaccination campaign that aims to vaccinate all children in Afghanistan under the age of five.

The massive operation involves about 34,000 volunteers administering the drops of polio vaccine. Four rounds have been held so far this year, two in the spring and two in the autumn, and four additional sub-national polio campaign rounds have been conducted in the southern provinces.