WHO Hopeful Of Establishing Air Bridge Into Northern Afghanistan To Send Medicines

The current unrest in Afghanistan has created the threat of medical supplies running out within days in the country, warned the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday.

It however added that an air bridge into the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif is hoped to be established by it before medicines run out with the help of Pakistani authorities.

The regional emergency director of the Who said that the priority medicines for Afghanistan include trauma kits and other emergency supplies for hospitals, as well as medicines for treating chronic malnutrition among children. About 18 million people in the country depend on aid from the Whop and other global organizations.

“What remains certain is that humanitarian needs are enormous and growing,” Rick Brennan told a briefing of the United Nations.

More than 100 people, including more than a dozen soldiers of the United States, were killed in a twin bomb blast at the Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul.

Hospitals in the Afghan capital have been flooded with people injured in the bomb blast on Thursday, which according to reports was more than 200. The hospitals where the injured were taken included a health facility run by the Italian NGO EMERGENCY whose trauma supplies are dwindling, said Brennan, speaking from Cairo.

“Right now because of security concerns and several other operational considerations, Kabul airport is not going to be an option for the next week at least,” he said.

“One of the problems we have in Afghanistan right now is there is no civil aviation authority functioning, but we are working with Pakistan particularly in the context of Mazar-i-Sharif airport. Because they can work with contacts on the ground so that all the necessary steps to land an aircraft, to land a cargo aircraft, can be put in place,” Brennan said.

All US military forces are slated to leave Afghanistan by August 31, following which there is expected to be a security vacuum. 

The Taliban now in power in the country had requested Turkey to support and help to run Kabul airport after the withdrawal of foreign forces because of security concerns and uncertainty in Afghanistan. However Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that no final decision has been taken by the country on the request yet and added that talks with Taliban were still ongoing.

Brennan said that the rates of insurance being charged by insuring companies for flying into Afghanistan had “skyrocketed at prices we have never seen before” within the last 12 hours since the blasts happened at the Kabul airport.

“So we are trying to jump through that hoop at the moment and once we have addressed that we will hopefully be airborne in the next 48 to 72 hours.”

He said that about 97 per cent of the health facilities that are monitored by the WHO across Afghanistan are functioning as of now.

“The more sobering news is these health facilities are rapidly running out of medical supplies and WHO is not currently able to meet these needs.”

(Adapted from USNews.com)


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