Afghan agency says earthquake survivors need cash; enough aid for now
KABUL — An Afghan aid agency appealed on Monday for cash for survivors of a deadly earthquake, saying it had no room to store food and had enough tents, and money for villagers to meet their particular needs would be most useful now.
Afghanistan’s most destructive earthquake in decades struck a remote southeastern region near the Pakistani border on Wednesday last week, killing at least 1,000 people, injuring 2,000 and destroying 10,000 homes.
Among the dead were 155 children, with nearly 250 children injured and 65 orphaned, the U.N. humanitarian office (OCHA) said.
“People ask for cash in the areas, they say they’ve received enough aid,” the deputy head of the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), Mullah Noordden Turaby, told a news conference in Kabul.
The disaster is a major test for Afghanistan’s hardline Taliban rulers, who many foreign governments have shunned because of concern about human rights since they seized power last year.
In addition, sanctions on Afghan government bodies and banks have cut off most direct assistance for a country that was facing a humanitarian crisis, including famine, even before the 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck.
Nevertheless, the United Nations and several other countries have sent aid to the affected area. Turaby said the ARCS had no place to store food and they had enough tents for shelter.
He said cash would be more useful to survivors struggling to make ends meet and the ARCS could help distribute money if donors were worried about transparency.
The U.N. humanitarian office reported progress in its latest bulletin late on Sunday, saying a shortage of tents had been resolved and groups were distributing various aid including food, hygiene kits and cash.
However, it said several logistical problems remained including limited communications as a result of downed mobile phone networks and poor road conditions in some areas.
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