(Kabul/ New York, 6 May 2014): UN Deputy Humanitarian Chief Kyung-wha Kang concluded her visit to Afghanistan today calling for continued support for vulnerable communities affected by conflict and natural disasters.
As the country undergoes a major security, political and economic transition, any significant reduction in international aid could have a devastating impact on people’s lives, warned Ms. Kang.
“It is important that the transition is centred on the Afghan people and what needs to be done to tangibly improve their lives,” said Ms. Kang wrapping up her three-day visit to the country. “Solutions to tackle major issues such as access to essential services, including healthcare, and timely assistance to displacement are paramount for Afghanistan’s overall transition and development.”
“The conflict has affected people’s access to medical care severely,” said Ms. Kang. “Last year there was a 60 per cent increase in the number of people treated for conflict-related injuries. It is very clear that insecurity remains a major concern – both endangering the lives of civilians and constraining humanitarian access.”
Many regions of Afghanistan are prone to recurrent natural disasters. Over the past ten days alone, a combination of melting snow and heavy rains has killed hundreds of people, and floods have displaced more than 70,000 people. Following a visit to Badakhshan, north-eastern Afghanistan, where hundreds of people were killed by a massive landslide late last week, Ms. Kang highlighted the longer-term needs of people displaced by natural disasters in the country, as well as the importance of disaster risk reduction.
In a meeting with the Provincial Governor, Shah Waliullah Adeeb, and the Director-General of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority, Dr. Mohammad Daim Kakar, Ms. Kang extended her condolences to the victims and survivors of the landslide and assured that the UN system would continue to support the response in Badakhshan and elsewhere across the country.
“Investing in disaster risk reduction to improve preparedness, and reduce and better mitigate underlying risks and vulnerabilities must remain a key priority,” added Ms. Kang. “We need to continue helping to strengthen the Government’s ability to prepare for and respond to disasters which have such a devastating impact on the lives of so many Afghans.”
For further information, please call:
Aidan O’Leary, OCHA Afghanistan, firstname.lastname@example.org, +93 793 001 101
Devi Palanivelu, OCHA New York, email@example.com, Tel. +917 495 5424
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