Monsoon rains that have unleashed the worst flooding in Pakistan in 80 years have also severely affected people in neighboring Afghanistan, where International Medical Corps’ teams are providing health care services in the eastern provinces. The Afghanistan Government has declared an emergency situation – to date, the flash flooding has affected approximately 23,500 locals, with approximately 38 fatalities.
In the immediate aftermath of the flooding in the last week of July, International Medical Corps mobilized quickly to administer basic health care services and assess needs in Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan Provinces, the worst-affected areas in Afghanistan. Mobile medical teams including doctors and community health workers have visited returnee settlements to provide first aid and distribute supplies throughout the region.
In Nangaraj District in Nuristan, the District Governor has asked the International Medical Corps team to stay long-term as we are the only trained, international presence in the District that can provide emergency medical care. Our team, supported by 278 community health workers in Nuristan, is coordinating its flood response efforts with the health Shura (health committees) at the community level to provide first aid services and health education to prevent outbreaks of disease.
In the remote, eastern Daka Banda area where flood-affected families previously had not received any assistance, International Medical Corps distributed household kits containing hygiene materials, blankets, stoves and other kitchen supplies for families of six.
As flooding may be aggravated by additional rainfall in the coming days and weeks, International Medical Corps’ staff will continue to monitor the situation, in particular emergent outbreaks of waterborne illnesses such as cholera. We will also continue to offer existing health, nutrition and protection services in our areas of operation within the flood-affected provinces.
International Medical Corps launched its first program in Afghanistan in 1984 during the Soviet occupation. It has continued to provide life-saving medical care and training throughout the country ever since and is the only international NGO operating in Nuristan Province.