Supplying life's basics for thousands devastated by Northern Afghanistan flooding

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Flooded Kokaldash Village in Jawzjan Province in 2009. UN Photo/Sayed Barez

Emergency aid is getting through to the large majority of people affected by flash floods in Northern Afghanistan last week, which killed at least 132 people.

The Afghan army has evacuated some 14,000 people from the worst affected areas to open desert areas.

It's estimated that 39,000 have been affected in some way by the flooding.

Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, says that efforts to reach those in the worst hit province of Jowzjan, where 87 people died, are being hampered by washed out roads and infrastructure damage.

However, he said aid is getting through elsewhere.

"People's immediate needs are in food, clean water, emergency shelter and non-food items. The government's provincial disaster management authorities are in charge of the response, with support from UN humanitarian agencies and the Afghan Red Crescent. OCHA staff in country this morning said that in nine out of the ten of the affected provinces, the immediate life-saving needs are being met, in terms of food, water and shelter."  (22″)

Many of those who've had to flee their homes are poor subsistence farmers. The floods have destroyed their homes and agricultural lands and highlighted the urgent need for development aid to get them back on their feet once the flood waters recede.

Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva.

Duration: 1’21″

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