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Humanitarian needs rising rapidly in Afghanistan: UN

November 2, 2021 at 3:06 pm

People light candles in Afghanistan on 17 October 2021 [Bilal Güler/Anadolu Agency]

The UN, Tuesday, said humanitarian needs are rising rapidly in Afghanistan ahead of winter, where temperatures can dip to minus 25 degrees Celsius.

A plane carrying winter relief from the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) global stockpiles in Dubai flew for the Afghanistan capital, Kabul, on Tuesday, UNHCR spokeswoman, Shabia Mantoo, told journalists at a UN press conference, adding that the plane is carrying 33 tons of winterization kits for displaced Afghans.

Each kit weighs 25 kilograms and contains flooring partitions and other items to improve tent insulation against the cold. The kits also provide heat-resistant protection to enable the installation of a stove.

Conflict and insecurity have displaced 3.5 million Afghans inside the country, including some 700,000 forced from their homes, so far this year, she said.

This plane is the first of three UNHCR flights, with the next two scheduled to land in the Afghan capital on 4 November and 7 November.

“Many displaced families lack proper shelter, while some of those who have recently returned to their places of origin have found their homes unfit for the cold season,” Mantoo added.

READ: ‘Children are going to die’, UN agency warns as Afghanistan verges on collapse

UNHCR said it is rushing to provide winter assistance to some 500,000 displaced Afghans, returnees and local host communities by the end of 2021.

Nearly half a million people in Afghanistan have received assistance this year.

The aid includes emergency shelter kits, food rations, blankets, kitchen sets, stoves, solar panels, solar lanterns and cash for the most vulnerable.

“We are using land, sea, and air routes to bring humanitarian relief into Afghanistan and other countries in the region, so we can respond to the increasing needs,” said Mantoo.

“More relief supplies have also been prepositioned in Termez, Uzbekistan, and are ready to be trucked into Afghanistan as needed.”