Afghanistan: More than 120 children died in the earthquake

The earthquake that occurred two days ago in Afghanistan left at least 121 children killed and 67 injuredreported this Friday the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). So far, 1,036 people have been reported dead and nearly 1,650 injured, but it is estimated that the numbers will continue to rise in the coming days as search and rescue operations progress.

“The total number of people killed or injured is not yet confirmed. Verifications are ongoing,” Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF representative in Afghanistan, told a news conference from Kabul.

The district of Bermal, in the province of Paktika, would have the highest number of victims, in addition to thousands of houses have been destroyed or at least damaged.

The representative indicated that extremely vulnerable children and adolescents run “a high risk of family separation, emotional and psychological suffering, abuse and exploitationand other forms of violence” and announced that, to prevent this from happening, UNICEF is already activating community child protection networks in the affected areas.

The UN agency aims to increase the number of child protection service providers and social workers.

“We know that the children and families affected by the earthquake urgently need shelter, clean water, medical care and protectionAyoya added.

UN teams assess the damage caused in Paktika during the earthquake in Afghanistan.


UN teams assess the damage caused in Paktika during the earthquake in Afghanistan.

24 hours a day work

A support team from UNICEF and its partners, along with the de facto authorities, have been working around the clock since the morning of June 22 to gather information to better guide the response, while deliveries of vital supplies.

The Fund has also deployed at least twelve health professional teams in the most affected district of Giyan, in Patkika province, and several mobile health and nutrition teams in Barmal district, in the same province, as well as in Spera, in Khost province.

UNICEF explained that it is urgent to provide water and sanitation, since there is an important risk of acute watery diarrheain addition to medical supplies, emergency trauma care and first aid, and shelter items such as blankets and tents.

He also stressed the need to provide psychosocial support children who have been separated from their families.

A man and his son walk through the ruins of their house, destroyed during the earthquake in Afghanistan.

© UNICEF/Sayed Bidel

A man and his son walk through the ruins of their house, destroyed during the earthquake in Afghanistan.

avoid a catastrophe

For its part, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned that if assistance to the affected Afghans is not maintained, a humanitarian catastrophe.

UNHCR spokeswoman Chebiya Mantou told a press conference that the agency immediately transported tons of help articles and knowledgeable staff to support relief efforts in the area.

Those items included shelter and household items that included 600 tents, 4,200 blankets, 1,200 jerrycans, 1,200 buckets, 1,200 plastic sheets, 600 kitchen sets, and 1,200 solar lamps.

He added that supplies will be distributed among some 4,200 survivors in Jayan, Barmal, Ziruk and Nika districts of Paktika province, and Sabra district of Khost province.

Mantou said the devastation was exacerbated by the fact that people were sleeping in their mud houses when the strong earthquake hit one of the most remote parts of Afghanistan.

In addition, the torrential rains that have devastated the affected region in recent days, “exacerbated the misery”, he narrowed down.

The spokeswoman recalled that four decades of conflict and instability have left millions of people in Afghanistan on the brink of starvation and famine, and specified that around 24 million Afghans need humanitarian assistance, and that there are currently about 3.5 million people displaced by violence and 1.57 million more due to climatic factors.

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