IOM Aids Afghan Families Affected by Series of Natural Disasters

Date Published: 
Friday, March 13, 2015

IOM is supporting the Afghan government in responding to a series of devastating natural disasters that have struck the country in recent weeks.

It is estimated that at least 6,000 families (over 42,000 individuals) across 21 provinces have been affected by avalanches, flooding, landslides and heavy snowfall since February.

“Afghanistan is a high-risk country for natural disasters, but to have so many disasters strike in such close proximity is rare,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission Richard Danziger. “There was a need to respond swiftly to help the families that were affected, and the government along with the Afghan National Army reacted quickly in forming search and rescue teams and clearing roads to reach the furthest communities affected by avalanches.”

Working alongside the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) and other humanitarian partners, IOM immediately mobilized its field teams to the disaster sites to assess the scale of the damage and the needs of the affected communities.

Following the assessments and requests from provincial governors through provincial disaster management committees (PDMC), relief supplies were dispatched from stocks prepositioned in IOM warehouses throughout the country.

IOM has conducted 11 distributions in disaster-affected areas since 21 February, delivering urgently needed humanitarian aid. To date, distributions have taken place in Badakhshan, Herat, Laghman, Paktia, Ghazni, Nangarhar, Nooristan, Farah, Kabul, Baghlan and Parwan provinces, benefitting 1,233 families (over 8,600 individuals).

Most recently, a distribution for 242 families (over 1,700 individuals) affected by heavy rains and snowfall in Parwan was held in the provincial capital Charikar on 9 March. The families received basic household items: winter blankets, solar lanterns, emergency shelter kits and other assistance that will help ease the burden of displacement.

“We haven’t ever seen a winter like this,” said Ali Ahmad, a resident of Baba Khail village in Parwan. “My house was totally destroyed, along with my car. I’m a driver, my car is my livelihood. Now I have no home and no way to work.”

Support for IOM’s response activities was provided by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

Earlier this week, IOM, ANDMA and the Government of Japan signed an agreement to implement a 36-month, USD 9.9 million project aimed at reducing risks in disaster-prone communities and strengthening government response capacity.

For further information, please contact Matt Graydon at IOM Afghanistan (+93 794 100 546, mgraydon@iom.int)