‘No safe way’ into battle-scarred Afghan city of Ghazni to deliver aid as traumatized children search for parents

UNICEF/Celeste Hibbert Children in Southern Afghanistan who were vaccinated against polio by a government health workers, supported by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

The city of Ghazni in Afghanistan is still too dangerous for aid workers to reach, after a week of “intense” fighting and reports that traumatized children are turning up at hospitals looking for their parents, UN humanitarian agency, OCHA, said on Friday.

“As of this hour, there is no safe way for civilians or humanitarian workers to enter into Ghazni,” OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke said, adding that hundreds of civilians are believed to have died since last Friday, in clashes between Taliban fighters and pro-Government forces.

“We estimate that there are some 200-250 civilian casualties, according to the latest unverified numbers,” he said, citing information from the Red Cross in Afghanistan.

Ghazni, in the east of Afghanistan, is one of the country’s largest cities and home to around 270,000 people. It is just the latest place to be affected by an uptick in violence in a country that has experienced more than three decades of protracted conflict, seriously hampering poverty reduction and development.

Although Taliban fighters have been largely driven out of Ghazni city centre after last week’s attacks, house-to-house “clearing operations” are ongoing, according to OCHA.

Amid continuing insecurity, the remaining 25 to 30 aid organizations with a presence in the city “have basically hunkered down”, the agency’s spokesperson told journalists in Geneva.

In the meantime, fighting has reportedly moved to the outskirts of the city, with Taliban fighters slowly withdrawing towards surrounding villages.

But aid workers – and food – still cannot reach the city because of the presence of lethal booby traps, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

“One of the main reasons for that is that there are IEDs and mines on the way,” Laerke said. “We do have capacity to actually spot and map where these mines are, but we do not have the capacity to remove them. That is the responsibility and within the capacity of the national government to do so.”

Parts of one of the main access roads, Highway 1, have been reportedly “destroyed, contested or contaminated” with IEDs, according to OCHA, which noted in a statement that the weapons had also been placed along the city’s ring road.

The development follows an uptick in violence in Afghanistan, where 80 so-called conflict incidents were recorded daily between July and September, 2017 – the highest number in six years – the UN agency has reported.

Last year also saw 16 district administrative centres attacked and taken over by the Taliban, OCHA said.

Earlier this week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged warring parties in Afghanistan to step up efforts towards achieving peace following deadly fighting in Ghazni, after condemning a “heinous” suicide bombing that killed dozens of students – many of them teenagers – at an education centre in the capital, Kabul.

In a bid to assess needs in Ghazni, OCHA has asked local aid workers still in the city to gather information on the number of people requiring help.

Key priorities include restoring the city’s public services. Parts of the water system are functioning again, according to the authorities, and UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, is preparing to dispatch chlorine to flush network clean.

Mobile phone networks are also gradually being restored but electricity in the city is reportedly still largely unavailable, OCHA said in a statement.

“The immediate restoration of electricity, to ensure water supply, is a top priority,” spokesperson Laerke explained.

Other priorities include providing assistance to all those affected by the violence, particularly youngsters.

“We expect that there will be a very big need for psycho-social support amongst the residents including for children,” Laerke said. “There are reports of unaccompanied minors turning up at the hospital, looking for their families.”

According to OCHA, 3.3 million people need humanitarian assistance, and there are growing signs that what was once a low-intensity conflict has now escalated into an escalating war, according to a UN strategic review.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The increasing drug prices in Europe

The power of trust and values in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy, during a recent press conference in Brussels / Berlaymont. (Copyright: EU, 2018 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart)

EU opens investigation into Qatar Petroleum over potentially restrictive gas contracts

Germany not famous for easy way outs from political stalemates

Horse meat runs faster than authorities…

Is the English language too powerful?

3 reasons all countries should embrace the Global Compact for Migration

EU Ambassadors in the EP: a multilateral approach to global challenges needed

Multilateralism more vital than ever, as World War centenary looms: Security Council

What our leaders hide from us

The two big uncertainties shaping our future

China hails human rights progress amid calls to close detention camps

Latest leaked TTIP document confirms EU sovereignty may be under threat

Yemen parties underscore ‘strong desire’ for peace, UN Envoy reports

David Attenborough: The planet can’t cope with overpopulation

EU Council: Private web data to be protected by…abusers

These are the cities with the biggest carbon footprints

My ‘’cultural’’ contacts with China

Austria’s EU Presidency: Chancellor Sebastian Kurz aims to “build bridges”

Russia and the West use the same tactics to dismember Ukraine

A renewed agenda for Research and Innovation: Europe’s chance to shape the future

UN chief praises Malaysia’s death penalty repeal as ‘major step forward’

The key takeaways of G7 Summit in Canada

The Bank of China at European Business Summit 2015

IMF to teach Germany a Greek lesson

Afghanistan: Civilian casualties caused by IEDs has reached ‘extreme levels’, UN warns

China repels EU allegations of export subsidies

Are ECB’s €500 billion enough to revive Eurozone? Will the banks pass it to the real economy?

A Sting Exclusive: “Seize the opportunity offered by Africa’s continental free trade area”, written by the Director General of UNIDO

When it comes to envirotech adoption, NGOs can lead us out of the woods

The EU Diplomacy in North Korea promotes peace or war?

UN-based World Summit Award (WSA) presents its master list on digital innovation with impact on society from 24 countries

Matthias in Canada

A Sting Exclusive: “The competitiveness of Europe depends on a digital single market”, EPP President Joseph Daul highlights live from European Business Summit 2015

How bad is the Eurozone economy? The ECB thinks too bad

UN condemns ‘heinous’ suicide attack on education centre in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: UN envoy urges further extension of ceasefire with Taliban, as Eid ul-Fitr gets underway

UN sounds alarm as Venezuelan refugees and migrants passes three million mark

More taxpayers’ money for the banks

The miserables and the untouchables of the economic crisis

EU sets ambitious targets for the Warsaw climate conference

Overseas investment falling, developing countries largely unscathed: UN trade agency

The Franco-German axis considers that all EU needs now is more armaments

MasterCard @ MWC14: Innovation in times of regulatory uncertainty

EU Trust Fund for Africa: Can it be beneficial for Italy and tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean?

Trailing the US-EU economic confrontation

Fears for food security and the future of farming families, as Fall Armyworm spreads to Asia

Restoring government control across Central African Republic is ‘key’ to lasting peace, stability – UN envoy

Main results of EU-Japan summit: Tokyo, 17/07/2018

The West and Russia impose a new order on the world

Rehn ready to sacrifice part of the real economy

The EU accuses Russia of bullying Ukraine to change sides

Can Greece’s devastating economy deal with the migration crisis?

Gender Equality as a platform to improve Medicine

5 ways to make your organization a great sustainability partner

EU Commission spends billions without achieving targets

Commissioner sings “Volar-e” but the European driver no “Cantar-e”

EU-US trade deal: Europe to Americanize its social model?

The global liberal order is in trouble – can it be salvaged, or will it be replaced?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s