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CrisisInSight Weekly Picks, 19 January 2022

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An earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale struck in Badghis province (western Afghanistan) on 17 January, affecting people in Qadis district in particular, though several districts were hit. At least 26 people are reported dead, 4 injured and up to 1,000 houses were damaged by the earthquake. Displaced people are sheltering with family or friends. Rescue operations are underway, with food, shelter, non-food items, and heating materials currently the priority needs. Heavy rainfall was reported in the province, making damage assessment difficult, creating a risk of flooding and further damage, and posing challenges for the response. People in Badghis province have been impacted by drought and were in need of humanitarian assistance prior to the earthquake. The region is one of the most impoverished and underdeveloped regions in Afghanistan.

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Continual rainfall in Chocó department in December and January caused the Atrato and Andágueda rivers and several tributaries to overflow. More than 32,000 people (8,228 families) have been affected by flooding, which has damaged housing, road infrastructure, and crops. Bojayá, El Carmen del Darién, Lloró, Bagadó, Atrato, and Medio Atrato are the most affected municipalities. At least 276 people (79 families) in Carmen de Darien are at high risk of flooding and landslides and need relocation. There is a lack of capacity to shelter displaced people as the crisis continues, and shelter material, NFIs, and hygiene kits are among the priority needs. Food and technical agricultural assistance are needed, as crops are damaged and lost and the majority of people in these municipalities depend on agriculture for their own food and livelihoods. More information on the needs and actual number of people affected in some of these municipalities is lacking.

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The combination of COVID-19, socioeconomic and political instability since the February 2021 military coup, and increased conflict have contributed to a complex crisis affecting people across the country. Access to food is expected to deteriorate and an estimated 13 million people are projected to be food insecure in 2022. Other main needs are identified in the areas of protection, WASH, education, health, nutrition, and shelter -- including for internally displaced people. Anti-coup armed resistance formed in May 2021 continues to clash with the military. Conflict has spread to new regions and is particularly concentrated in the southeast and northwest, causing a rise in displacement and needs. An additional 406,000 people are living in a situation of internal displacement since the coup. Returns for both IDPs and refugees, including Rohingyas, remain uncertain.

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