UNICEF: Tens of thousands of children affected by floods in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reported that tens of thousands of children in Afghanistan have been severely affected by ongoing flash floods.

The most vulnerable children are in the northern provinces of Baghlan and Badakhshan and the western province of Ghor.

The floods have claimed 350 lives, including at least a dozen children, according to UNICEF. The disaster has also damaged or destroyed over 7,800 homes and displaced more than 5,000 families.

In response to the crisis, UNICEF has delivered safe water and distributed hygiene kits containing soap, buckets, jerry cans, toothbrushes, and more. The agency has also mobilized hygiene promoters to educate communities on handwashing and safe water storage.

Tajudeen Oyewale, UNICEF’s Director for Afghanistan, urged the international community to increase investments to help communities mitigate the impacts of climate change on children. “UNICEF and the humanitarian community must prepare ourselves for a new reality of climate-related disasters,” he said. “The growing number and severity of extreme weather events will require us to step in with even more rapid and large-scale humanitarian responses.”

Oyewale emphasized the need for strengthened preparedness measures, including greater pre-positioning of emergency relief supplies and enhanced coordination with partners. He also stressed the importance of building community resilience to reduce dependence on humanitarian aid.

The report highlighted that children in Afghanistan are particularly vulnerable to climate and environmental shocks, despite the country being one of the least responsible for global climate change.