Vulnerable Bamyan, Ghor families need winter aid
FIROZKOH/BAMYAN CITY (Pajhwok): Vulnerable to natural disasters, residents of central Bamyan and western Ghor provinces have asked the government to provide them required food items and winter clothes before roads are blocked by snowfall.
The residents warn of a severe humanitarian crisis if a preplan is not made and executed because the two provinces receive heavy snowfall in winter which causes roadblocks for weeks and even months.
Hameedullah Dadfar, Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) chief for Ghor, said snow have already covered mountains of the two provinces. In the first stage, he said, more than 8,000 and the next stage 5,400 people would need assistance.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News they lacked any facility to deliver aid to affected people during winter season and roadblocks would leave them with the only option of supplying relief goods by air.
Syed Shah, a resident of Dolina district, said the conflict between security forces and Taliban had left them unable to grow crops and therefore they were in dire need of assistance.
Gul Mohammad, a resident of Pasaband district, said last year the price of 50 kilograms of flour jumped to 3,000 afganis from 1,500 afghanis.
This winter, he said, would be more difficult than previous ones because Taliban insurgents had blocked roads connecting the district with the provincial capital.
But Taliban said they had temporarily blocked roads to halt movement of security forces and government machinery and residents could use sub-roads.
But residents said the road blockade by Taliban had created economic problems for them and demanded immediate reopening of the roads.
Governor Sema Joinda said 70 percent residents of the province lived under the poverty line and they had suffered a lot in the past due to drought.
“We have shared problems of needy families with the international community and government departments and we expect assistance in order to protect the families from problems in winter,” she said.
Japan has recently donated 10 road maintenance equipment including dump trucks, graders, excavators and loaders to the Ghor Public Works Department.
The neighbouring Dikundi province having similar geographical condition faces similar problems in winter.
ANDMA head for Dikundi, Mohammad Riza Sadiqi, said they have only 2.5 million afghanis to respond to an emergency situation and the fund was insufficient for the coming winter.
“We need 5000 tonnes of wheat for which we have officially requested the government, but we are yet to get that,” he said.
He said Daikundi was vulnerable to cold weather and the government and aid agencies should be fully prepared for winter.
Food items have not been dispatched to the province due to negligence of the central government and insecurity on roads passing though Maidan Wardak and Ghorband district of Parwan, a member of the provincial council, Hadi Rahimizada, said.
This year, the road from Kandahar to Dikundi was also blocked and floods by the end of summer affected agriculture of the province, he said. “So there is the need for more assistance with the province.”
Similarly, neighboring Bamyan province also faces similar situation in winter. A resident of Bamyan City, Ramazan Ahmadi, said people were in urgent need of assistance before snowfall began because most people were jobless and lived under the poverty line, with some families living in caves nearby the Buddha status.
Except dates and family kits, ANDMA has shifted no other assistance to districts of the province for the upcoming winter.
ANDMA director for Bamyan, , Mohammad Raza, said their survey showed nearly 16,800 families were vulnerable to harsh weather conditions and they requested nearly 2500 tonnes of food items, which were yet to be delivered.
“If the assistance is not delivered to districts before snowfall, people would face several problems after closure of roads,” he said.
However, ANDMA’s deputy country director Mohammad Islam Syas said they had already prepared winter plan to respond to natural disasters and had sent some food items like wheat, rice and sugar to six provinces including Ghor, Daikundi and Bamyan.
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