UN health agency rushing medical help to flood-hit Afghans

5 August 2010
Flooded Kokaldash village in Jawzjan Province, Afghanistan

The United Nations health agency said today that it has begun sending medical supplies to aid thousands of people affected by recent flooding across Afghanistan, where the major health concerns right now are water contamination and the spread of waterborne diseases.

WHO is supporting the Government response to the health needs of people affected by flooding through distributing emergency medical assistance in the provinces that have been worst affected by the ongoing floods, ensuring that the urgent health needs of the Afghan people are met,” said Peter Graaff, the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Afghanistan.

“As flooding continues, WHO stands prepared to immediately respond to the worsening health crisis,” he added.

The Afghan Government estimates that the floods have left several thousand individuals homeless in northeast Kapisa, central Ghazni, Laghman, Nangarhar, Kunar, Logar, Khost and northern Parwan provinces, where at least 2,500 houses have been destroyed.

An estimated 80 people have reportedly died in the floods, and much of the arable land, where crops were planted, has been inundated.

The main concerns for WHO at present are the spread of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoeal diseases, typhoid fever and malaria, as well as the provision of clean drinking water and access to medical services for the victims.

At the request of the Afghan Government, the agency has so far provided enough supplies to provincial health departments and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to cover the basic health needs of 9,000 people and treat 5,000 diarrhoeal cases.

Medical supplies to cover essential health needs of 200,000 people arrived in the country earlier this week and WHO is prepared to support the health response should the situation worsen, it stated.

 

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