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IOM helps Paktika rise from the rubble after deadly earthquake



(Last Updated On: July 15, 2022)

Thousands of Afghans in Paktika province say they face an uncertain future and have no idea how their communities will rebuild their lives after last month’s deadly earthquake that killed over 1,000 people and destroyed an estimated 10,000 homes. 

In the early hours of June 22, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the remote, mountainous region and while concerted efforts are being made by aid workers to help the survivors, their efforts are being hampered by the mountainous terrain and heavy rains. 

IOM reported this week that the humanitarian community has mobilized funds and personnel for the response and that IOM teams were on the ground in the affected area following the earthquake, weathering aftershocks alongside the affected community.

Humanitarian actors are busy, the IOM reported and workers are meeting with community members to assess their needs, organizing the first emergency distributions and setting up tents, latrines and hand washing stations. 

Trucks loaded with a variety of kits are also arriving in waves, having successfully navigated the remote mountains, riverbeds and roads that make the area particularly difficult to access. 

Thousands of people are trying to get the basic items they need for immediate survival — food, water, health care and shelter.

“I was in my house asleep when it started shaking,” says Krushnal, a survivor from Barmal, still living with his four children on the site of their collapsed house. 

“A piece of wall hit me, but I am not seriously injured. I saw bodies being pulled out of the rubble, injured people, and maybe dead people. I heard cries of pain everywhere I went,” he told IOM.

The majority of the fragile mud-brick houses in the area did not withstand the earthquake. While many currently lack the means to rebuild much of their community, the survivors have come together alongside humanitarian actors to plan for the recovery of the community.

A few kilometers from Gayan, IOM Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) staff hold counseling sessions with victims amidst the rubble. Three distinct groups are formed for the sessions: women, men and children.

Mobile clinics have also been operating in this mountainous area, which is located far from health centers. In addition, community members have identified psychological support as a key need, which has been included in the IOM earthquake response from the first day. 

IOM reports that as of July 8, 140 trucks have successfully reached the impacted areas of Paktika and Khost provinces and some 30,000 emergency shelter and non-food item kits have been distributed to 5,600 families in need.

But now, according to the IOM, the focus has switched to post-disaster longer-term rebuilding of houses, and of lives. 

IOM and other shelter actors are working together to support the communities to clear the rubble of the damaged homes and to build back their homes safely.

However, other public infrastructures will also need to be rehabilitated to ensure communities can return to normal. Water sources that have been contaminated must be treated and fixed to ensure access to safe and clean water again.

According to the IOM, repurposing of existing emergency funding enabled IOM to undertake a swift, immediate response to provide life-saving assistance to affected communities but now, longer-term funding from both humanitarian and development actors must be committed and made available immediately to ensure that houses and essential community infrastructure can be rebuilt before the harsh winter arrives in November.

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IEA, Iranian officials hold talks after border clash



(Last Updated On: May 29, 2023)

Following the border clash in Nimroz province on Saturday, officials of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) and Iran have held talks in a bid to reduce tensions.

Two Iranian border guards and one IEA guard were killed after the shooting that happened near a border post in Nimroz.

Tehran and Kabul have said that peace has returned to the area and both sides have pledged to avoid such incidents.

IEA has emphasized that Afghanistan does not want war with any of its neighbors and wants to have friendly relations with Iran.

“The Islamic Emirate believes in talks regarding any issue that happens. So this is a very good option. We want that all the issues that exist or the concerns that we have are addressed through talks,” said Bilal Karimi, IEA’s deputy spokesman.

Iran’s interior minister also downplayed the clash and said that the border gate of the Silk Bridge has been reopened and economic exchanges between the two countries have resumed.

“There was a brief conflict and it was resolved. Negotiations were also held with the Taliban (IEA). Now we have no problem. The border is open and peaceful,” Ahmad Wahidi, Iran’s Minister of Interior, said.

Iran’s military officials also said that such incidents should be prevented.

“The meeting took place. Now we have come to see what the parties should do so that this kind of unfortunate incident does not happen,” Qassem Rezaei, deputy commander of Iran’s national police, said.

The clash happened amid tensions between the two countries over water rights.

Iran has accused the IEA of violating a 1973 treaty by restricting the flow of water from the Helmand river to Iran, an accusation denied by the IEA.

Earlier this month, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned the IEA over disregarding Iran’s water rights under the treaty. The IEA rejected Raisi’s perceived threat.

An Iranian cleric criticized Raisi’s remarks.

“Your diplomatic language was not correct. You suggested (to IEA) to take your words seriously and not complain later. Is this a proper statement? What answer did you get? You embarrassed this nation,” Abdulrahman Omarzahi, a religious scholar in Sistan and Baluchistan province of Iran, said.

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Afghanistan weather bureau issues heavy rain and flood warning  



(Last Updated On: May 29, 2023)

The Afghanistan Department of Meteorology issued a warning Monday on the possibility of heavy rain and floods in 19 provinces over the next two days. 

In a warning on their website, they said heavy rains and floods could be expected on Monday and Tuesday in Badakhshan, Nuristan, Kunar, Laghman, Baghlan, Nangarhar, Kabul, Logar, Paktia, Khost, Paktika, Zabul, Ghazni, Maidan Wardak, Bamiyan, Daikundi, Parwan, Panjshir and Kapisa province.

According to the department, the amount of rainfall is predicted to be between 10 and 30 mm.

Last week, the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) reported that over the past month, at least 42 people died and 45 were injured in 13 provinces due to natural disasters.

Shafiullah Rahimi, a spokesman for the ministry, said in a video that during this period, 341 houses were completely or partially destroyed, 19,573 acres of agricultural land were damaged, and 1,354 livestock were lost in these provinces, mostly in flash floods.

According to Rahimi, these incidents took place in the provinces of Kapisa, Maidan Wardak, Takhar, Badakhshan, Ghor, Kandahar, Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman, Paktia, Khost, Daikundi and Nangarhar.

In addition to this, recent floods caused huge financial losses to residents.

The press office of the governor of Ghor has said that a joint delegation from various government departments visited Taywara and Pasaband districts of the province, to assess the flood damage. 

“Five thousand, eight hundred and ninety-five acres of agricultural land, 105 drinking water wells, and water springs were destroyed in two districts, 74 shops were partially destroyed and some were completely destroyed,” the statement said.

In addition, 32 houses were partially destroyed, along with 201 small water dams, fourteen culvert bases and 559 small water reservoirs and canals.

Ghor’s press office said the team had shared the results of its investigations with the local administration, but no help has yet been received for the flood victims. 

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IEA’s Prime Minister congratulates Erdogan on his victory



(Last Updated On: May 29, 2023)

Prime Minister of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, has extended his heartfelt congratulations to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on his re-election.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, won an election runoff Sunday after the strongest challenge to his 20-year rule.

The IEA Prime Minister expressed his sincere hope for increased strength, stability, and dedication to religious service in Turkey under President Erdogan’s leadership.

Akhund also noted the bond of brotherhood and friendship between the people of Afghanistan and Turkey and conveyed his aspirations for continued cooperation and mutual support between the two nations in various fields.

He also said Erdogan’s successful re-election will further strengthen diplomatic ties and shared values between the two countries.

Official results showed Erdogan’s challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu won 47.9% of the votes to Erdogan’s 52.1%, pointing to a deeply divided nation.

The election had been seen as one of the most consequential yet for Turkey, with the opposition believing it had a strong chance of unseating Erdogan and reversing his policies after his popularity was hit by a cost-of-living crisis.

Instead, victory reinforced his image of invincibility, after he had already redrawn domestic, economic, security and foreign policy in the NATO member country of 85 million people.

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