Afghanistan: Nuristan Avalanche Flash Update (as of 8 February 2017)

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 08 Feb 2017

Highlights

  • Response teams including search and rescue teams and IMC emergency medical teams, arrived and commenced work in Barg-e-Matal in Nuristan, on 6 February.
  • In addition, two metric tons of emergency dry food, cash assistance, NFIs, medical supplies and WHO pneumonia and basic health kits have been delivered.
  • 57 people have been killed, and at least 33 injured, 25 of whom received medical assistance on 7 February. 16 seriously injured were transferred to Jalalabad or Kabul on 8 February. The death toll may rise.
  • 87 homes are also reported to be damaged.
  • The area is remote and remains very hard to access, with most roads blocked. Two helicopters were unable to land on 6 February due to poor weather conditions and only one flight carrying humanitarian supplies landed on 7 February.
  • Other casualties and damage to homes/livelihoods was reported around the country between 4-6 February due to avalanches, heavy snowfall and rain. ANDMA announced the country-wide death toll to be at least 116 people. Of note, an avalanche in Darwaz Bala in Badakhshan is reported to have killed 10 people and injured 12.
  • ANDMA is leading the response. OCHA is closely coordinating with ANDMA, OCTs, IOM, and PDMC leads.

Avalanches / Snowfall

Nuristan
- An avalanche on 05 February 2017 at 0100 hours claimed at least 57 lives in Afsay Village, Barg-e-Matal District (Nuristan Province), with at least 33 injured. Search and rescue teams are on-site and the death toll may rise.
- At least 87 houses were also reported as destroyed.
- The area impacted by the avalanche is remote and due to heavy snowfall is hard to access, with snow depth currently at 2.5 metres. Much of the province is affected by the snowfall.
- Another avalanche also hit a market at Madina in Parun, Nuristan. Initial information is that one person was killed and three injured. In addition, 13 houses and 15 shops were destroyed, in addition to livestock and vehicles.

Elsewhere
- A large number of avalanche, snowfall and rain-related disasters were reported around Afghanistan between 4-7 February, with 22 out of 34 provinces reported to have been affected.
- Provinces with casualties and significant damage to homes and livelihoods included Badakhshan (several districts), Balkh (Chimtal), Faryab (Pashtun Kot, Kohistanat), Samangan (Darisuf Bala), Sar-i-Pul (Sozmaqala, Sayad and Balkhab), Hirat (Adraksan), Badghis (Nahya Four and Ab Kamari), Nangarhar (several districts), Paktia (several districts), Khost (several districts), Helmand (Lashkar Gah), Kandahar (Kandahar City), Bamiyan, Daykundi, Parwan and Kapisa (all several districts).
- Of note, an avalanche on 5 February 2017 at 0100 hours in Darwaz Bala in Badakhshan is reported to have killed 10 people and injured 12, in addition to four avalanches on 30 January in Raghistan district, which reportedly killed one person and destroyed some homes.
- Snowfall has caused the many areas of the country to be inaccessible, making it difficult to obtain a full picture of the impact of the natural disasters.

Needs and response

Nuristan
- Helicopters with search and rescue teams and an INGO IMC medical team first landed on site on 6 February. Two additional helicopters were unable to land on 6 February due to poor weather conditions, however flights resumed on 7 February, albeit with only one delivery of NFIs.
- Government authorities have begun distributions of AFN50,000 (approx. US$748) to each family that has lost a family member and AFN20,000 (approx. US$300) to those who sustained injuries. So far, approximately 25 families have received cash assistance.
- Three IMC medical teams are now on site and are working in the community. 16 people with serious injuries were evacuated for medical treatment on 8 February.
- Medical supplies for 3,000 patients have been delivered, as has emergency dry food supplies (2 MT), cash assistance and WHO pneumonia and basic health kits. Some food has been distributed.
- NFIs will be distributed to 10 families on 8 February, with additional distributions planned once supplies arrive.
- Additional flights remain an immediate priority to deploy more humanitarian teams and drop further supplies.
- IOM has mobilised NFIs and tents, kits for over 40 families are ready to be dispatched. WFP has confirmed readiness to dispatch 300 kilograms of high energy biscuits to cover 71 households, with additional stock available as needed. UNICEF confirms readiness to dispatch 500 kits of warm clothes.
- Preliminary information indicates medical supplies, food, NFIs and hygiene kits will be the main needs.

Elsewhere
- OCHA is working with the government and humanitarian partners to triangulate information and coordinate assessment and response.
- At this point in time there appears to be sufficient supplies to meet needs.

Gaps

  • While sufficient supplies are available in-country, access remains the main challenge due to remoteness and heavy snowfall.
  • Due to lack of access, information gaps remain. OCHA continues to work with partners to seek further information to strengthen the response.

Coordination

  • OCHA is closely coordinating with the government and humanitarian partners.
  • In addition to the local coordination meetings listed above, OCHA Eastern Region sub-office is coordinating with ER HRT members on prepositioning of critical lifesaving supplies, and on Civil Military aspects of the response. The government has already requested military assets from ANSF and RS.
  • A further OCT meeting is scheduled for 8 February to strengthen the ongoing response.
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