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Helmand fighting disrupts critical health services: UNOCHA

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2020)

Heavy fighting in southern Helmand province, near Lashkargah city, has not only displaced thousands of people but it has also interrupted critical health services as clinics have been forced to shut down in some areas, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said on Thursday. 

In an update on the fighting, which broke out on Saturday night when the Taliban launched coordinated attacks across the province, UNOCHA said clashes were reported in Nahr-e-Saraj and Nad-e-Ali districts on Wednesday – two of the areas that have been hardest hit since Sunday. 

The UN agency also stated that the highway between Helmand and Kandahar remains closed. 

UNOCHA said they were verifying the numbers of displaced people after local authorities estimated 35,000 (about 5,000 households) had been forced to flee their homes earlier this week. 

Health clinics in a number of areas have also been affected, the report stated adding that two clinics in Nawa and Bolan closed on Wednesday due to active fighting in the areas while seven other health facilities in Nad-e Ali, Marja, Nahr-e-Saraj, Lashkargah and Nawa also closed down due to threats to health staff. 

“Before closing, the health facilities were operating in a reduced capacity, focusing on trauma care only. The closure of the health facilities affects more than 38,000 people in the area and deprives them of access to critical health services,” the report read.

Meanwhile, food distribution to needy households started on Wednesday. The Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) handed out food to 120 households (approximately 800 people ), with up to 1,000 additional households (7,000 people) – who have been displaced – expected to receive ANDMA assistance in Lashkargah in the coming days. 

Electricity and telecommunication lines are still disrupted in some areas, hindering the flow of information. This has affected people’s ability to communicate and humanitarian partners’ ability to conduct assessments, UNOCHA said. 

Meanwhile, the UNHCR will deliver assistance to 600 households (200 tents and 400 non-food item kits). 

UNOCHA “is working with clusters to deliver further assistance, including tents, food and water which have been highlighted as immediate needs,” their report stated adding that the World Health Organization will relocate three Mobile Health Teams (MHTs) to provide medical services to the displaced population in Lashkargah city.

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Pakistan seal semi-final T20 World Cup spot after beating Namibia 

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(Last Updated On: November 2, 2021)

Pakistan defeated Namibia by 45 runs on Tuesday night in Abu Dhabi to become the first side to qualify for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2021.

Chasing a formidable target of 190, Namibia gave a good account of their ability and promise and eventually finished with 144-5 as Pakistan collected the two points they needed to go through to the next round.

Pakistan’s total is the second-highest in this tournament, behind Afghanistan’s 190-4 against Scotland in Sharjah.

Afghanistan’s next T20 World Cup match is on Wednesday against India.

 

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COVID-19

US administers over 420 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2021)

The United States has administered 420,657,683 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 518,701,225 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

The agency said 221,221,467 people had received at least one dose, while 192,244,927 people were fully vaccinated as of 6am on Saturday.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, Reuters reported.

About 17.7 million people have received a booster dose of either Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

On November 8, the United States is lifting the extraordinary travel restrictions that have barred most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Britain, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. 

It is also imposing new rules requiring nearly all foreign adult air visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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IEA arrests two gunmen after wedding party shooting 

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2021)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) deputy minister of information and culture Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed on Sunday that two people have been arrested following the shooting at a wedding party on Friday night. 

Mujahid said in a series of tweets on Sunday that three people, claiming to be IEA members, had arrived at the venue in a village in Nangarhar and ordered them to stop the music, before opening fire on the guests. 

Three people died and several were wounded, he said.

“Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident and one has escaped and is being pursued,” Mujahid tweeted.

 Mujahid said that the gunmen were handed over to officials.

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