Samstag, 19.06.2021 / 23:49 Uhr

Corona: Notstand in Afghanistan

Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Am Hindukusch wird, sollte das eh je der Fall gewesen sein, längst Niemandens Freiheit mehr verteidigt, ganz im Gegenteil zieht der Westen sich zurück und es geht nur noch darum, möglichst keine oder wenige eigene Verluste dabei zu haben. Die Menschen dort, um die es nie oder bestenfalls in Sonntagsreden ging, können sehen was sie tun.

Aber nicht nur die Taliban sind auf dem Vormarsch, sondern auch Covid-19 und es trifft bekanntermaßen Arme und arme Länder besonders, so auch Afghanistan, wo dieser Tage der Sauerstoff knapp wird:

The government is installing oxygen supply plants in 10 provinces where the increase in COVID cases in some areas is hovering around 65%, health ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigir Nazari said.

By WHO recommendations, anything higher than 5% shows officials aren’t testing widely enough, allowing the virus to spread unchecked. Afghanistan carries out barely 4,000 tests a day and often much less.

Afghanistan’s 24-hour infection count has also continued its upward climb from 1,500 at the end of May when the health ministry was already calling the surge “a crisis,” to more than 2,300 this week. Since the pandemic outbreak, Afghanistan is reporting 101,906 positive cases and 4,122 deaths. But those figures are likely a massive undercount, registering only deaths in hospitals — not the far greater numbers who die at home.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan received 900 oxygen cylinders from Iran on Saturday, part of 3,800 cylinders Tehran promised to deliver to Kabul last week. The shipment was delayed by Iran’s presidential elections, said Nazari.

Afghanistan has even run out of empty cylinders, receiving a delivery of 1,000 last week from Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile hospitals are rationing their oxygen supplies. Afghans desperate for oxygen are banging on the doors of the few oxygen suppliers in the Afghan capital, begging for their empty cylinders to be filled for COVID infected loved ones at home. (...)

For the country’s poor — over half of Afghanistan 36 million people according to World Bank figures — the situation has become desperate.

Wasi said on Friday as he waited outside the oxygen plant that a patient on a stretcher was carried to the door while the family begged for oxygen. The patient died.