Tens of Thousands Afghan Families Receive UN Winter Supplies


The United Nations refugee agency today began distributing winter supplies to some 34,500 families, or more than 200,000 people in Afghanistan as night-time temperatures have plummeted to below freezing across the Asian country.

The winter supplies include blankets, plastic sheets, sweaters, shawls, gloves, socks, waterproof shoes, gas, charcoal and coal – to help them stay warm and dry through the bitter winter.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its partners handed out blankets, plastic sheets, warm clothes and fuel to more than 300 families in the Dahsabz district of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on the first day of the distribution.

“This joint winter assistance programme is vital for returnees and internally displaced people (IDPs) who are at particular risk during the cold winter months in Afghanistan.” – Jamaher Anwary, the Afghan Minister of Refugees and Repatriation

Maslakh (Internally Displaced Persons or IDPs) camp is the largest inside Afghanistan and among the largest in the world. Shown here, residents of Maslakh Camp in Afghanistan.

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Beneficiaries include households that are run by women with no adult male support, families with elderly or disabled members and families with many children, said Peter Nicolaus, the UNHCR Representative in Afghanistan.

As in previous years, UNHCR is focusing its winter assistance effort on isolated rural areas.

Afghanistan’s annual harsh winter hits and homeless millions suffer from deplorable conditions – lack of warmth, clothing, shelter, and a warm meal.

Since the fall of the Taliban regime in late 2001, UNHCR has helped some 4.6 million Afghan refugees to return home voluntarily. Nearly three million registered Afghan refugees still live in exile in Pakistan and Iran.

Lack of jobs, food, shelter and security in parts of the country has made it harder for returnees to remain in their villages, according to UNHCR.

The agency and the Afghan Government are engaged in a consultative process involving neighbouring Iran and Pakistan to develop a strategy to support the refugees.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.