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171,697 people are prone to natural disasters, warns MRRD

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) on Sunday notified that 171,697 people in vulnerable areas are threatened by natural disasters.

The Meshrano Jirga has summoned Minister of MRRD Nasir Ahmad Durani, Acting Minister of Energy and Water (MoEW) Sultan Mahomood Mahmoodi, Deputy of Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority for briefing about their preparations to deal with natural disasters.

Nasir Ahmad Durani said that according to the new general plan for identification of vulnerable areas, it is anticipated that around 171,697 people (estimated 22,191 families) are prone to natural disasters in 297 districts of the country.

He counted the naturals disasters as floods, heavy rains, storms, droughts and avalanches in the vulnerable areas. At least 15,983 people (2,283 families) in central provinces, 30,893 people (4,413 families) in northeastern provinces, 44,715 people (2,245 families) in northern areas,  4,550 people ( 640 families) in southeastern province, 23,170 people (3,310 families) in southern parts and 14,400 people (270) in other parts of the country are vulnerable to natural disasters, he added.

The minister pointed out that according to anticipating of general plan for identification of vulnerable areas, if the natural disasters take place, totally171, 697 people in 297 districts of the country would be smash up.

Regarding provision of urgent aid to vulnerable people, Minister of MRRD stressed that though necessary aid have been stored in the stocks but still majority of vulnerable districts in the provinces are deprived of relief aid.

The MRRD with cooperation of other relevant organizations stored some urgent materials in its stocks including 10,000 tents, 13,000 gabions, 44,000 blankets, 27,000 basins, 4,000) lamps, 200 coverlets, 6,000 kitchen kits, 9,000 shoes, 1,500 jackets, 2,000 socks, 840 carpets, 800 gas balloons, 5,000 health kits, 33 water tanks, 38,000 food packages, 432 carts, and 1200 shovels, he told the senators.

Regarding building of protection walls along the riverbanks to protect vulnerable areas from flooding, the acting minister of power and energy Sultan Mahomood Mahmoodi said that allocation of inadequate budget by Ministry of Finance hampered the projects.

He said that this year Ministry of Finance allocated $2.2 million to build protection walls along the riverbanks is inadequate.

“According to the budget we selected only 14 vulnerable areas to build protection walls. Work over four projects is underway and on the remaining would be started soon,” he said

He termed lack of budget a national challenge and stressed that MoEW needs $30 million to protect more than 100 vulnerable areas from floods.

Members of Meshrano Jirga are concerned about seasonal floods and droughts in the country and asked the government to take practical measures to deal with natural disasters.

Afghanistan is a mountainous country which always suffered from different natural disasters and every year hundreds of people lose their live due to floods and avalanches.

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