KABUL (Reuters) – Women and children account for two-thirds of the victims of recent earthquakes in Afghanistan who were hospitalized with serious injuries, the head of the World Health Organization’s emergency response in the country said on Monday.
The Taliban administration said at least 2,400 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured in Saturday’s earthquakes, which were among the deadliest in the world this year, following tremors in Turkey and Syria in which an estimated 50,000 people were killed. .
“The earthquake occurred around 11 a.m., when the men were outside the houses, so most of the injured and dead are women and children who were inside the houses at that time,” he told Reuters in a video by WHO doctor Alaa AbouZeid. interview.
“Two-thirds of the seriously injured admitted to the hospital I treated yesterday are children and women,” he said, referring to his stay in Herat after the earthquake.
He also warned that funding for humanitarian operations remained critical as global attention and funding was shifting away from Afghanistan. That could be attributed to emerging or competing crises around the world, such as in the Middle East and Ukraine, and amid concerns about the Taliban’s restrictions on women, diplomats and aid officials say.
AbouZeid said it was “devastating” to see the number of children hospitalized in critical condition.
“I have seen a child about 3 or 4 months old with a head injury due to the earthquake,” he said.
Head trauma can cause long-lasting debilitating effects or disabilities, AbouZeid said. WHO response teams were taking the matter seriously, given the impact of such injuries on the victim and her families, who would need long-term support, he said.
While response teams saved many lives, hospitals need to be better equipped to deal with more victims and similar situations in the future, he said.
Afghanistan’s health system, heavily dependent on foreign aid, has faced devastating cuts in the two years since the Taliban took power and much of the international aid, which formed the backbone of the economy, It was suspended.
The UN humanitarian office has announced $5 million in assistance for the earthquake response, but immediate material support has come from a few countries.
“The news veered toward what’s happening in the Middle East over the last two days and there was very little attention” to the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan, he said.
(Reporting by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by Bernadette Baum)