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The focus of Afghan earthquake relief efforts is shifting to a long-term perspective

#focus #Afghan #earthquake #relief #efforts #shifting #longterm #perspective

International and local aid agencies are shifting their focus from the immediate to the longer-term areas of Afghanistan hit by last week’s deadly earthquake, officials said Monday.

The 5.9-magnitude tremor early last Wednesday hit impoverished Paktika province in the east hardest, killing more than 1,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

While aid and shelter have reached almost all affected areas, the longer-term prospects look bleak and aid is limited in a country already mired in a humanitarian crisis that has worsened since the Taliban returned to power in August.

“Our teams have determined that there is not that much of a need for food or non-food items right now,” Nooruddin Turabi, deputy president of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, said at a news conference in Kabul.

He said the most urgent need is cash to enable those affected to purchase basic materials to rebuild their lives.

“We will discuss (with partners) a long-term plan. Enough first aid has been given at the moment – ​​whether it’s tents, shelter, food or other items.”

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) said it believes women would be at the heart of rebuilding communities hardest hit by the quake.

“When it comes to rebuilding the local economy… we will ensure that women are at the center,” said Abdallah Al Dardari, the UNDP representative.

– ‘Proving Grounds’ –

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers have been criticized for reinstating an uncompromising version of Islamic rule that places severe restrictions on women – including their rights to education, work and travel.

“This will be a testing ground for how we move forward with the economic empowerment of these women,” Al Dardari told AFP.

“We are determined, there is no getting around it – and indeed, based on the first signs on the ground, we believe that it will be women who are actually keeping these local communities alive today.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is sending trauma teams to Paktika to help survivors deal with the psychological effects of the earthquake.

Few families in rural Gayan County were untouched by the tragedy, and there have been multiple reports of the deaths of households of more than a dozen members.

“The exact number of casualties and home/building destruction is still not fully identified and has not yet been confirmed,” WHO said in its latest bulletin.

“Challenges remain with accessibility…Traffic and road conditions in affected areas have delayed the delivery of supplies.”

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the focus is now on the coming weeks and months after addressing the immediate needs of those injured by the quake.

“Now the health problems are turning into dehydration and diarrhea caused by the lack of clean water,” said Jose Mas, MSF emergency coordinator.

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