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Afghan envoy says refugees in Iran will get ID’s, electronic passports

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(Last Updated On: August 22, 2020)

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Iran, Ghafour Lewal, said Saturday that Afghan refugees in Iran would be legalized. 

Lewal, who met with Iranian officials said the refugees would be issued ID cards and electronic passports by Afghan officials. 

“A team from Afghanistan has traveled to Iran to work on the identity of refugees, issue ID cards for them and also electronic passports.” 

According to Iran’s national news agency IRNA, Lewal said a comprehensive strategy document had also been signed between the two countries which related to economic, trade and investment relations. 

Iran is hosting about three million Afghan refugees – both documented and undocumented – and although Afghanistan and Iran have close trade ties, the refugee issue has raised concerns in the past. 

In May, residents in the Gulran district in Herat province, which borders Iran, said Iranian officials had tortured and thrown more than 50 Afghan immigrants into a river so as to stop them from entering the country illegally. 

Residents said the group of immigrants had crossed into Iran in search of work before being captured by Iranian border guards and later pushed into the Harirud river shared by both Afghanistan and Iran. 

A large number of refugees in Iran are second or third generation Afghans living in the country.

According to the UNHCR, approximately 97 percent of the refugees live in urban and semi-urban areas, while the remaining three percent live in 20 refugee settlements which are managed by UNHCR’s main government counterpart, the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs (BAFIA) of the Ministry of Interior.

In recent years, however, the government of Iran has gradually been introducing policies conducive to solutions for refugees and the attainment of rights for the Afghan population living in Iran, enhancing access to education, health, and livelihood services to refugees with minimal financial aid from the international community.

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Cholera cases rising in Takhar

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(Last Updated On: June 27, 2022)

Cholera and diarrhea cases are rising among children and adults in Afghanistan’s northern Takhar province, local officials said.

Abdul Qahar Ahadi, provincial health director, said that more than 20,000 patients suffering from various diseases visited public health facilities during the past two months, which is unprecedented.

Takhar’s main hospital meanwhile said that most of the visitors were treated for cholera and diarrhea.

Hayatullah Imami, an official at Takhar hospital, said that 30 percent of patients visiting the facility daily were suffering from diarrhea.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with Vibrio cholerae bacteria.

People can get sick when they swallow food or water contaminated with the cholera bacteria. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe and life-threatening.

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India records spike in daily COVID cases and 21 deaths in 24 hours

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(Last Updated On: June 27, 2022)

India logged 17,073 new COVID-19 cases early Monday morning, raising its tally to 43,407,046, and 21 deaths in the past 24 hours, the health ministry reported.

The death toll now stands at 525,020.

The national COVID-19 recovery rate was 98.57 percent, the ministry said.

Pakistan’s ministry of health meanwhile reported Monday that it had recorded 382 new cases in the last 24 hours.

This took Pakistan’s COVID-19 total case count to over 1.53 million. Two deaths were also reported in the past 24 hours.

However, experts say Pakistan may potentially witness another COVID-19 wave as the country continues to see an uptick in new cases.

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Polio vaccination campaign rolls out in western Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

More than one million Afghan children are expected to be vaccinated over the next few days in the latest polio vaccination campaign that was launched in western Afghanistan on Sunday.

Officials said the campaign will run for four days and be conducted across four provinces in the western region.

Waheed Rahmani, head of the vaccination campaign, said that 1.1 million children under the age of five are expected to receive the polio drops, including 720,000 in Herat province.

He said that so far there are no obstacles in the way of rolling out the campaign.

Volunteers said that they hope to reach all the children who need to be vaccinated.

“I along with my team will work honestly to make Afghanistan free from polio virus,” said Fina Nezami, a volunteer.

“I hope that Afghanistan becomes polio-free and we are happy to go door to door for vaccinations,” said Yagana Nabizada, another volunteer.

Local health officials have assured the public that all areas will be covered by the campaign.

“We have not forgotten areas, and while planning vaccination programs, all the areas are reviewed and if any area is left out, it will be immediately covered,” said Mohammad Asif Kabir, provincial deputy health director.

Around 728,000 children received polio drops in the previous campaign in Herat. Around 5,000 volunteers are involved in the current campaign in Herat.

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