22 September 2020

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Saturday, September 05, 2020
Herat (BNA) Hundreds poor and deserved families in Herat received humanitarian aid.
These families have suffered major economic losses due to recent floods and the spread of the Corona virus.
The Herat Media Office said in a newsletter that food was distributed to three hundred and eighty families during this period.
Distributed materials included flour, rice, oil, tea, soap and sugar.
It is said that the spread of the coronavirus and quarantine in Afghanistan has hurt the economies of hundreds of thousands of families.
The floods also destroyed thousands of acres of farms and dozens of homes in the provinces.
T. Yarzada

Friday September 4, 2020 Kabul (BNA) Due to snowfall in winter and landslides and floods in summer, the villages around the Wakhan corridor (some of which lie at an altitude of over 3,000 meters) remain cut off for up to four months every year. Many villages along the Afghan-Pakistan border lack access to safe water supplies. Residents, most often women, have to travel long distances over harsh mountain terrain to fetch water from rivers or unprotected sources. Often the water is unclean, leading to sickness and disease in places with little or no access to health services. In response, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), with the support of the PATRIP Foundation, is constructing 15 climate resilient drinking water schemes, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). In Ners, a village in the Wakhan district of Badakhshan along the Chinese-Afghan-Pakistan border, AKAH constructed a water supply system that provides every home, as well as public facilities in the village, with a water tap. Safe piped drinking water that meets WHO quality standards is provided year-round. AKAH began by designing and installing a protected, piped system that covered 6.5km from the water source to the village. The scheme includes a drainage system designed to properly and safely drain water in the winter months and meet the particular geographic and climatic conditions of the village. Given the remoteness of the village, transporting construction supplies and materials was particularly complex, drawing on AKAH’s logistics and supply chain capabilities that were developed during the delivery of humanitarian aid in emergencies. Recognizing the challenges of accessibility for repair and maintenance going forward, the project promotes local ownership and the skills needed to maintain the system. AKAH also formed and trained a WASH Committee in the community to be responsible for maintenance and promote good hygiene and sanitation practices. The project, which was praised by the District Governor, was considered unique in the region. The Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development’s Provincial Coordinator concluded that “ultimately the water supply served to protect people of the village”. The Wakhan Corridor is a narrow strip of territory in Afghanistan, extending to China and separating Tajikistan from Pakistan and Kashmir. The corridor, wedged between the Pamir Mountains to the north and the Karakoram Range to the south, is about 350 kilometers long and 13–65 kilometers wide. From this high mountain valley the Panj and Pamir Rivers emerge and form the Amu Darya. A trade route through the valley has been used by travelers going to and from East, South and Central Asia since antiquity. Politically, the corridor is in the Wakhan District of Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province. Asiaplustj Ansari
Friday September 4, 2020 Kabul (BNA) A few months ago, mornings at Vahdat Primary School when the children arrived were full of enthusiasm and energy. Bags bouncing on their backs as they ran through the gates of their primary school, a group of girls skidded to a halt in front of the main building, waiting for assembly. At the back of a line of sixth-graders stood Parisa, the oldest in her class at the age of 16 – her classmates were on average only 12 years old. But Parisa was undaunted by the age gap and determined to make the most of her time at Vahdat Primary, in the old Persian city of Isfahan in Iran. “I love school so much,” she said, clutching her books to her chest. “My favourite subject is mathematics ... I love multiplication and division – they are really easy.” To have her school time interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic since then is doubly cruel given what Parisa had to endure before she got her first taste of an education. “They started planting landmines in schoolyards.” A decade ago, her family fled Afghanistan after the Taliban terrorized their neighbourhood in Herat. “If you went out to the bazaar, there was no guarantee you would return,” recalled Besmellah, 67, Parisa’s father. The extremists also threatened to kidnap any girls who dared to go to school. “Then they started planting landmines in schoolyards,” added Besmellah. “We had no choice but to come to Iran.” Over the course of 40 years of invasions, civil war, power struggles and religious strife, approximately three million Afghans have sought refuge in Iran. Nearly one million are registered as refugees, while up to two million are undocumented. An additional 450,000 Afghan passport holders live in Iran either to work or complete their studies. In Iran, Parisa and her six siblings had found safety but during her first years in exile she couldn’t go to school. The family barely had enough to live on, let alone cover school costs. Parisa’s brother dropped out of school at age 15 and started working. With this extra money, Parisa was able to set foot in a classroom for the first time, at the age of 11. At first, she found herself in an unofficial school not registered with the government, where lessons were organized in two shifts to accommodate as many children as possible. With no qualified teachers and no proper curriculum, the students only learned the basics. “My wife and I feel disabled by our lack of education. We don’t want the same to happen to our children.” As an undocumented refugee, at the time this was Parisa’s only option. But in 2015, Iran started allowing all Afghan children – regardless of legal status – to attend state schools. When Vahdat Primary opened with with funding from the Government of Iran, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR and the European Union, Parisa got her first taste of a formal education. Today, some 480,000 Afghan children in Iran benefit from this inclusive education policy, of whom 130,000 are undocumented Afghans like Parisa. At Vahdat Primary, 140 young Afghans rub shoulders with 160 Iranian students. But the pandemic threatens to derail Parisa’s education once more. As Iran continues to feel the health and economic effects of the virus, both refugees and host communities are finding it harder to make ends meet. Many of those who rely largely on informal work have lost their jobs. “I haven’t been able to work for the past three months,” said Besmellah, who is a day labourer. “Parisa is supposed to start the seventh grade this year but I cannot afford it.” In a report, titled “Coming Together for Refugee Education”, to be published on 3 September, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR warns the twin scourges of COVID-19 and attacks on schools threatens to set back refugee education for decades. “We had to borrow my older sister’s smartphone to do our exams.” Based on UNHCR data, the Malala Fund has estimated that as a result of the coronavirus half of all refugee girls in secondary school will not return when classrooms reopen this month - a chilling prediction that would have an impact for generations to come. While refugees are exempt from school fees in Iran, other costs associated with education, including learning materials, are still a burden. “My landlord also raised the rent so I had to borrow money to pay the deposit for a new place.”  Parisa has lost none of her enthusiasm for her education. “My sister and I followed our lessons on the television, but we had to borrow my older sister’s smartphone to do our exams,” she said. “Sometimes our classes would clash, so one of us would have to miss a lesson. It was difficult, but I encouraged my sister to persevere. Thankfully, we both got good grades.” “As long as I can work, I will do everything for my daughters to be able to go to school – but it is getting harder,” said Besmellah. “My wife and I feel disabled by our lack of education. We don’t want the same to happen to our children.” Unhcr Ansari

Thursday, September 3, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Eight people died Wednesday morning when a boat sank in Helmand river, local officials said.
Omar Zowak, the spokesman for Helmand's governor, said the incident happened in the Azan area of Kajaki district, where the Kajaki dam is located. “Three children, two women and three men are the victims,” Zowak added. Local officials said that electricity and water services were shut off while rescuers search for the bodies of victims.

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