UNICEF says nearly 100,000 Afghan children in desperate need of aid, 3 months after earthquake


ISLAMABAD (AP) — The United Nations children’s agency said Monday that nearly 100,000 children in Afghanistan are in desperate need of assistance, three months after an earthquake struck the west of the country.

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Herat Province on October 7, and a second, stronger earthquake struck the same province a few days later on October 11, killing more than 1,000 people. UNICEF said in a statement that most of those killed in the earthquake in Zinda Jaan and Injil districts were women and children and 21,000 houses were destroyed.

“There is still pain in these villages 100 days after the earthquake in western Afghanistan, when families lost everything,” said Fran Equiza, UNICEF representative in Afghanistan.

He said, “Children are still trying to cope with the loss and trauma. Schools and health centers on which children depend have been damaged beyond repair, or completely destroyed.”

“As if this was not enough, winter has taken hold and temperatures have dropped below zero,” Equiza said. Children and families without homes live in life-threatening conditions at night, with no way to heat their makeshift shelters. There is no way.”

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UNICEF said it urgently needs $1.4 billion to meet the humanitarian and basic needs of half the population, or 19.4 million Afghans, in 2024.

The Taliban’s failure to invest in public services has contributed to the degradation of basic services, hindering the ability of vulnerable communities to recover from shocks and build resilience, the agency said.

“We are grateful to our donor partners who rapidly mobilized resources, enabling UNICEF to respond in just a few days to the urgent needs of children and their families in Herat,” Equiza said.

But more help is needed “to ensure that children not only survive the winter but have the opportunity to thrive in the months and years to come,” he said.

Daniel Timme, UNICEF’s communications chief in Afghanistan, said schools, homes, health facilities and water systems were destroyed.

“We have money coming but it is not enough. These communities need to be free again. This is not enough to extinguish the fire. “We need to make it (Afghanistan) more resilient,” Timme said.

Separately and for Afghanistan as a whole, UNICEF said on Monday that 23.3 million people, including 12.6 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2024, “primarily due to the residual effects of the protracted conflict, extreme climate shocks and the country’s dire economic situation.” Due to “decline.”

Associated Press writer Riyazat Butt in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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