Winter Child Mortality in Badakhshan Province Incident Report No. 1

This report is produced by OCHA in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It was issued by OCHA Afghanistan. It covers the period from 28/02/2012 to 29/02/2012.

I. HIGHLIGHTS/KEY PRIORITIES

  1. 54 children have died due to ARI / Pneumonia in 4 remote and inaccessible districts of Badakhshan province.

  2. Medicine, blankets and children’s clothes are transported by truck, horse and on foot to the districts. Access is hampered by snow, ice and high altitude.

  3. Mobile medical teams provide emergency medical assistance.

  4. Communities are drought affected and show high levels of malnutrition. Villages are snow-bound six months per year. Food and NFIs have been pre-positioned and contingency stocks established.

II. Situation Overview

54 children under 5 years have died due to ARI / Pneumonia in four remote districts of Badakhshan province. 19 out of the 54 deaths are not verified and no autopsies have been performed on any of the cases. The cause is not yet confirmed as pneumonia, hypothermia, acute respiratory illness or if related to severe malnutrition. No further reports about child deaths have been received so far. Winter related child mortality reports are received from four districts: Kohistan, Khwahan, Raghistan and Yawan. The districts are very isolated, extremely remote and surrounded by high mountains with altitudes between 1,400 and 3,000 meters. Many villages can only be reached on small trails by horse or on foot. Access by vehicle is only possible in summer. Many villages are completely inaccessible for up to seven months. Affected districts are snow-bound for up to six months. The affected districts are chronically vulnerable and in 2011 were affected by drought. The child deaths have happened at the end of the seasonal hunger gap.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.