Afghan families displaced from other parts of the country prepare to return to their hometowns, Kabul, Afghanistan | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/STRINGER
Afghan families displaced from other parts of the country prepare to return to their hometowns, Kabul, Afghanistan | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/STRINGER

A plane carrying winter relief from UN refugee agency has brought 33 tons of winterization kits to Kabul. In a statement, UNHCR said this was the first of three flights, with the next two scheduled to land in the Afghan capital on November 4 and 7.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR has began airlifting aid to Kabul -- the first flight arrived Monday (November 1) with 33 tons of winterization kits for displaced Afghans

"Humanitarian needs are rising rapidly in Afghanistan ahead of winter, when temperatures can dip to -25 degrees Celcius. 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," UNHCR said.

Winterization kits for hundreds of thousands of people

UNHCR said conflict and insecurity have displaced 3.5 million Afghans inside the country, including some 700,000 forced from their homes so far in 2021. The organization is rushing to provide winter assistance to some 500,000 displaced Afghans, returnees and local host communities by the end of 2021.

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

So far this year, nearly half a million people have received assistance such as emergency shelter kits, food rations, blankets, kitchen sets, stoves, solar panels, solar lanterns, and cash for the most vulnerable.

Appeal to the international community

"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," UNHCR said.

"Further relief supplies have also been prepositioned in Termez, Uzbekistan, ready to be trucked into Afghanistan as needed. As we continue to scale up our humanitarian response, more resources are urgently needed to reach all those who will need help to survive the harsh winter ahead."

UNHCR is appealing to the international community to urgently increase financial contributions to assist displaced Afghans, both within and outside the country, who remain extremely vulnerable.

In addition to emergency relief for the internally displaced, it also continues to work in communities where former refugees have returned, by investing in infrastructure including education, health, livelihoods and shelter, the agency said.

 

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