Relief supplies reach northern Afghanistan after worst winter in 25 years
Source: ActionAid / April 3, 2008
Blankets, warm clothing and other essential supplies are being distributed to 42,000 people recovering from extreme winter weather in Jawzjan province in northern Afghanistan.
With the onset of spring, international development agency ActionAid has started a relief and rehabilitation programme in 179 villages in the province with over Euros 370,000 (£290,000) funding from the European Union.
ActionAid assessment teams identified isolated communities in the north of the country that were being left behind in the relief effort and found that war widows and poor families had suffered the most. They discovered 6,000 highly vulnerable families in urgent need of help including 1,212 households headed by women and 372 where the head of the household is disabled.
In addition to general relief the agency is also distributing goats, cattle and poultry to the 1,000 families identified as most at need. During the winter, thousands of head of livestock died in the freezing weather.
ActionAid’s Emergency and Conflict Advisor for Asia, Paras Tamang said that long-term rehabilitation efforts are crucial.
“Now the relief phase is coming to an end it is vital that poor families, who are totally dependent on cattle, goats and poultry for their living, are helped to restock. Without livestock, these families will be destitute.”
But Paras Tamang also warned that there is the danger of flash flooding as snow quickly melts followed by drought in the longer term; so far there has been no seasonal rain to support the just-planted wheat crop.
He said: “ActionAid Afghanistan is preparing communities for the very real possibility of flash floods and drought. This disaster mitigation work will be implemented through cash-for-work programmes – cleaning canals and upgrading flood defenses and irrigation systems. The aim is to have a two fold impact on reducing risks around flooding and drought and also help to increase income in the local economy.”
The European Union is also supporting an ActionAid disaster preparedness project in Shurtepah district, Balkh province, Afghanistan.