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MPs claim budget changes for new fiscal still not included 

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(Last Updated On: February 10, 2021)

Members of  Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) said on Wednesday that billions of Afghanis (AFN) have been added to government’s special code funds in the third draft of the new fiscal year’s budget, which MPs claim provides more opportunities for money to be embezzled. 

In addition, MPs questioned the salaries of government employees and said many were paid badly. They in turn accused government of not paying attention to their plight. 
 
“Allocation of budget should not be based on nepotism. Eighteen violations are cited in the draft budget. Equalizing salaries is the key demand of people; but government is careless about it. Personal issues should not lead to insufficiency in the budget,” said Nilofar Ibrahimi, one MP.
 
“Changes have not been made by the government to the budget; the salaries are not balanced and ways to embezzle (money) have not been prevented,” said Taha Sadiq, another member of the Wolesi Jirga.
 
“Approving the budget without equalizing salaries will be a big problem for the nation,” said Fazal Karim Aimaq, a member of the Wolesi Jirga.
 
Meanwhile, Mir Rahman Rahmani, speaker of the house, said government should respect the Wolesi Jirga’s recommendations about budget amendments.
 
According to Rahmani the general session of the Jirga will break soon but house commissions will work through their recess in order to deal with the budget.
 
“We don’t have problems with the budget, there is no political decision behind the budget approval. Nor is the budget being held hostage, we are trying to improve the budget,” added Rahmani.
 
On the other hand, some MPs said that officials from the Ministry of Finance should be summoned to parliament to provide clarification on the budget.
 
This comes after MPs twice rejected the draft budget for the 1400 solar year – which starts in April. 
 
On both occasions they have called on government to equalize salaries and bring changes to the code funds. 

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Earthquake victims in Gayan district still in need of food and shelter

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Hundreds of survivors of this week’s earthquake, who lost family members and their homes, are still in desperate need of help.

Sayed Bakhta, one of the survivors said that he has lost four family members and two others are hospitalized, adding that survivors are dealing with a lack of food and no shelter.

“We have no shelter here now, we don’t have food, all the victims are sitting outside without having shelter,” he said.

A number of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) officials who have visited Gayan district of Paktika say that almost 90 percent of residential areas have been destroyed.

“Almost 90 percent of residences are destroyed; only a few them are suitable for living, most of them are uninhabitable,” said Qalandar Ebad, acting minister of public health.

In the meantime, rugged roads have hampered relief efforts as Gayan victims grapple with a humanitarian crisis, but military helicopter try to deliver aid to the victims.

“According to the order of the Prime Minister, a meeting was held and according to that meeting, the ministries and donor organizations were instructed to come to the earthquake site as soon as possible and use all their facilities to save the people,” said Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy Minister of State for Disaster Management.

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121 children among those killed in Afghanistan earthquake: UNICEF

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

The United Nations children’s agency said on Friday 121 of those who were killed in the 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan this week were children.

Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative to Afghanistan, said as of late Thursday night, at least 1,036 people were reported killed and more than 1,643 reported injured.

The toll included 121 deaths and 67 injuries among the children, according to the official.

He said that Bermal district in Paktika province has the highest number of casualties and that several thousand homes were destroyed or damaged.

“Children and adolescents are extremely vulnerable and at high-risk of family separation, emotional and psychological distress, abuse and exploitation, and other forms of violence,” Ayoya said.

“UNICEF, in coordination with UN agencies, partners, and the de facto authorities (led by the Ministry of Defence) is rapidly preparing a multi-sectoral response covering health, WASH, child protection, nutrition, education, social mobilization, and including a cash component,” Ayoya said.
“UNICEF will be conducting a rapid market assessment in the affected areas in the upcoming days. The assessment will inform the feasibility and appropriateness of cash as a response to support early recovery. UNICEF has already trained partners for beneficiary registration on the ground.”

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Pakistan dispatches second consignment of earthquake relief

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday dispatched eight trucks loaded with relief goods for earthquake victims in Afghanistan.

According to a statement issued by the Pakistan government, the consignment, arranged by the National Disaster Management Authority, has been handed over to Afghan authorities.

The consignment consists of family tents, tarpaulins, blankets and emergency medicines.

“Pakistan is committed to continue supply of relief goods to Afghan brethren,” the statement read.

This comes after Pakistan sent in earthquake aid on Wednesday, just hours after the 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan’s eastern provinces, killing over 1,000 people and destroying thousands of houses.

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