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Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 9 February 2022 - Afghanistan, Samoa

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Afghanistan

Moving on to Afghanistan, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, in response to the heavy snowfall and avalanches in Dangam district in Kunar Province on 6 February, local health authorities together with the UN and our partners deployed two mobile health teams to provide health care to local communities and to the search and rescue personnel. Some 17 people were reportedly killed in the heavy snowfall and avalanches, and many more are missing.

We, along with our partners, are also providing cash, non-food items, shelter kits and warm clothes to almost 2,000 people impacted by recent rain and snowfall in Kunar, Nangarhar and Laghman provinces. The humanitarian response also continues across several other parts of Afghanistan, with 60,000 people receiving food or cash assistance and relief items.

The 2022 Afghanistan humanitarian response plan, targeting just over 22 million men, women and children with assistance, requires $4.4 billion and is unfortunately only 9 per cent funded; that’s about $419 million. By the end of 2021, 180 national and international humanitarian organizations reached 19.6 million people in 397 of Afghanistan’s 401 districts with some form of humanitarian assistance. The number of people reached is much higher than the 17.7 million people originally targeted, due to a scale-up in the last quarter of the year and generous donor funding of close to $1.7 billion through the 2021 Afghanistan response plan. And we hope that last year’s generosity is repeated.

Samoa

Quick COVID update in Samoa, where our team there is led by Resident Coordinator Simona Marinescu, and the team continues to support authorities to tackle the pandemic. UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund] supported authorities on the vaccine roll-out for children aged 12-17, training 100 vaccinators, bolstering vaccine storage and distribution networks, providing risk communication and monitoring the implementation of the vaccination campaign in schools. Our Children’s Fund colleagues also provided support in improving vaccination coverage for those above age 18 by monitoring vaccine uptake and community awareness.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been 33 cases in Samoa and no deaths reported to date, with the bulk of the spike in numbers in the past month alone, which is why prevention measures have been crucial. Over 270,000 doses have been administered, with nearly 80 per cent coming through the COVAX Facility.