Tens of thousands of children in Afghanistan are affected by persistent flash floods: UNICEF

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Rescuers search for survivors of a sunken boat in Mohmand Dara district of Nangarhar province east of Kabul, Afghanistan, on June 1, 2024. | Photo credit: AP

“Tens of thousands of children in Afghanistan continue to be affected by ongoing flash floods, especially in the north and west,” the UN children’s agency said on June 3.

Unusually heavy seasonal rains have caused widespread damage in several parts of the country, killing hundreds of people and destroying property and crops. The UN Food Agency has warned that many survivors are unable to earn a living.

UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, said the extreme weather had all the hallmarks of a worsening climate crisis, with some of the affected areas experiencing drought last year.

“The World Food Program (WFP) said exceptionally heavy rains in Afghanistan in May killed more than 300 people and destroyed thousands of homes, especially in the northern province of Baghlan. Survivors have no homes, no land and no source of livelihood,” the WFP said.

UNICEF said in a statement on Monday that tens of thousands of children continue to be affected by persistent flooding. “The international community must redouble efforts and investments to support communities in mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change on children,” said Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale, the UNICEF representative in Afghanistan.

At the same time, “UNICEF and the humanitarian community must prepare for a new reality of climate-related disasters,” Mr Oyewale said.

Afghanistan ranks 15th out of 163 countries in the Children’s Climate Risk Index. This means that not only are climate and environmental shocks and stresses prominent in the country, but children are particularly vulnerable to their effects compared to elsewhere in the world.

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No reprieve for Afghanistan as a new wave of floods in the northern province kills 66 people

Last week, the private group Save the Children said that around 6.5 million children in Afghanistan are expected to experience a hunger crisis by 2024.

“Nearly three in 10 Afghan children will face crisis or emergency levels of hunger this year as the country feels the immediate impact of floods, the long-term effects of drought and the return of Afghans from neighboring Pakistan and Iran,” says the group. said in a report.

More than 5,57,000 Afghans have returned from Pakistan since September 2023, after Pakistan began a crackdown on foreigners it believes are illegally residing in the country, including 1.7 million Afghans.

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