22 more die of cold in displacement camps in Afghanistan: Taliban
Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal on Friday warned that more of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), who are living in six ill-equipped open camps, would perish if international relief was not provided quickly.
"Twenty two more people died last night. This is the information I got from the authorities in Herat this morning," Jamal told reporters here, reiterating that most of the victims were children and women.
"The international community should give due attention to the refugees in Herat who are exposed to exteme cold and living a very pitiful life.
"The result would be more fatalities and more suffering for the people if the aid does not come in time," the minister said.
Denying earlier reports which put the death toll at 500, Jamal said 322 people had perished in the camps this week due to a cold snap which has struck much of the drought-hit country.
According to the United Nations, around 80,000 IDPs are housed in the Herat squalid camps. They have been driven by drought from nearby home provinces of Ghor and Badghis.
Jamal said drought victims from five neighbouring provinces were living in camps in Herat which did not have sufficient quantities of medicine to cope with the disaster.
The Taliban, who rule most of the country, have offered the equivalent of 12,500 dollars in blankets and other relief items to the camp inmates, the minister said.
He said UNICEF had donated 30,000 dollars and the World Health Organization 18,000 dollars.
The United Nations Friday warned of a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan. United Nations Coordinator for Afghanistan Eric de Mul predicted a "dramatic" deterioration in the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, where drought and war have driven more than half a million people from their homes.
"We are looking at an extremely difficult year with many people on the move and many who will try to cross its borders," he said.
"We have to come to terms with the fact that we will see many people die. We have already seen this happening in Herat."
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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 02/03/2001 03:36:56
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