Afghanistan’s coldest winter in 15 years has claimed the lives of several Afghans in recent months, most of them children. Following heavy snowfall in March, International Medical Corps’ Afghanistan team responded to an avalanche that affected Quesht, Adesho and Gola Poshala villages of the Mandol district in Nuristan Province. One of the most remote and underdeveloped provinces of Afghanistan, Nuristan lies on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where road access is frequently cut off by heavy snowfall.
International Medical Corps staff received the first avalanche reports while attending a meeting at the Nangarhar Provincial Governor’s Office in Jalalabad. Immediately following the meeting, an assessment team was deployed including our local cluster supervisor, security officer and emergency officer, along with representatives of the International Organization of Migration (IOM), the World Food Program (WFP) and a local nonprofit.
The response team mobilized early on the morning of March 13 and in the following days conducted a rapid assessment to evaluate the extent of the damage and survivor needs. We coordinated our efforts with IOM, WFP and other UN cluster members operating in Eastern Afghanistan, including the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, Officer for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and World Health Organization.
WFP and IOM provided response materials, such as family kits, shelter provisions and food items for the most affected families. International Medical Corps’ emergency response officer collected the response materials on April 3, and will distribute them from the central point of Duab district in the coming days.