Afgans: Paradise is elsewhere

February 18, 2013 2:12 am 0 comments

Some of the many hardships suffered by the residents in the Central Asian country include a lack of water and basic services as well as non-existent education and a risk of dying in public places.

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Armando Reyes

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One of the greatest controversies in Afghanistan is the lack of something as precious as drinking water. Although Mother Nature, according to experts, provided the region with a sufficient supply, the lack of infrastructure and the current political situation forces many people to live in the middle of a desert.

Unofficial statistics claim that nearly 73 per cent of the Afghan population lacks access to a water supply, while 95 per cent don’t have basic sanitation.  As a direct result, diarrheal diseases claim the lives of more than 48, 500 children each year.

This is a chronic problem in rural areas and in most cities, including the capital, Kabul, where only 25 per cent of its residents, according to reports, enjoy sterilised water.

Most Afghans are required to get their water from open-air sources such as rivers, springs, streams, ponds and wells. Most of these are contaminated by either defecation, lack of sanitation or the presence of infected animals.

The Central Asian country provides 2,775 cubic metres of water per habitant every year while an estimated 1,700 metres would be sufficient to meet domestic and industrial needs and energy production, without affecting the ecological balance.

Health

A survey, conducted in 2012 by the United National Consolidation Campaign, found that one in seven thousand Afghans is a health worker.  The shortage of teachers is also evident, with one male teacher for every 101 students and one female teacher for every 344 students.

The results of a survey undertaken in 2010 indicate that little more than 57% of the Afghan population lives within an hour’s travel of a public health centre.

The Afghan government has promised to boost its Millennium Development Objectives in 2014, which include increasing access to drinkable water from 27% to 50% and raising the possibility of adequate health for the inhabitants from 5 to 50 percentage points.  They plan on extending this coverage to the entire population by 2020.

However, unplanned development of cities, lack of sanitation, migration to urban areas, coupled with social and political instability and the internal conflict, suggest the government’s plans are just empty promises.

The non-governmental organisation, Consumer Service Rights, urged the Government and international organizations to work for the development and implementation of a comprehensive health policy, collaboration between sectors and the inclusion of communities in the crusade to improve living conditions.  Access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation is a fundamental right of Afghan citizens, but many continue living without it.

Mines of death

 

Another of the hardships suffered by the Afghans is the spread of explosive devices, planted or forgotten about, that are distributed throughout the region.

In the current state of internal conflict, the occupants of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and the local Army, use landmines as much as the armed opposition, to limit each other’s movements.

The reality is that, since the invasion and occupation of the Asian country, U.S. bombing has deposited five thousand unexploded cluster bombs.

The researcher, Mark Hiznay, has said that these devices have become anti-personnel landmines that represent an extreme danger to the civilian population, and will continue to do so for the coming years.The war has caused physical and mental disabilities for about 800,000 Afghans, who do not have jobs, are illiterate and lack adequate medical care.  Recent surveys suggest that one in five households in Afghanistan has an occupant with a physical or mental limitation.

Armed opposition also place ingenious explosives in streets where members of the ISAF occupying force frequently travel or commit suicide by exploding charges that they carry on their bodies.

This style of combat, as well as causing casualties, adds a psychological element that causes a state of paranoia and fear and prevents the military from acting objectively.

The spread of deadly devices has whetted the appetites of a number of companies engaged in bomb disposal, such as Sterling Global Operations, whose management has claimed, that within a few weeks, they had made ​​a profit of about $30 million from demining.

(Translated by  Colin Tarbat)

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