Relief to Jalalabad flood victims underway
1 September 2009 - Aid agencies and donors started to distribute immediate relief to those affected by flooding caused by pre-dawn rain and storms yesterday.
Last night, following a quick assessment of the damage caused by the flooding, the United Nations, a Jalalabad-based NGO - Youth in Action Association (YIAA) and the international military distributed food and water to hundreds of people affected by the flood.
Four people – three children and a woman – lost their lives in the flooding. Seven others are left injured.
Besides causing other damage, the unexpected flood has completely destroyed the main bridge connecting Jalalabad with strategic Torkham town in eastern Afghanistan.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has been coordinating relief for the affected population.
A rapid humanitarian assessment team formed yesterday morning by Deputy Governor of Nangarhar province, Mohamad Alam Ishaqzai, has found that a total of 626 houses have been destroyed across the province, with 523 alone in Jalalabad, the provincial capital.
The team has also found that roughly 4,000 people in total have been affected.
The provincial government is going to issue cards to all the flood-affected people so as to ease the distribution of relief materials, said Ishaqzai.
During a meeting yesterday called by Ishaqzai, various agencies pledged support to the victims. International military has promised to reconstruct the destroyed bridge as soon as possible.
The business community in Jalalabad has also promised to contribute towards the relief.
“I call on the people of Nangarhar to provide any support possible,” said the deputy governor. “It is not only religious duty at the time of Ramadan, it’s also a moral duty.”
Colonel Jody Nelson of the international military said the number one project right now is to build a temporary bridge, while construction of the main bridge is underway.
Aid agencies worry that conditions of the victims may worsen as further rainfall is expected in this eastern province.
UN agencies such as the UN's Children Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and OCHA, the Afghan Red Crescent Society, the Rural Rehabilitation and Development (RRD), the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), the Public Health Department, the Department of Returnees and Repatriation (DORR) and the international military have pledged all kinds of support to the flood victims.
Distribution of more relief is expected today.
By Tilak Pokharel, UNAMA