Afghanistan: First crosslines operation to Panjshir completed says UN

Islamabad (Office of the United Nations Co-ordinator for Afghanistan), 13 December 1999--
At the press briefing today at the Office of the UN Co-ordinator for Afghanistan, spokesperson Stephanie Bunker announced that the first phase of crosslines humanitarian operation from Kabul to displaced persons from Shomali Valley in the Panjshir Valley has been completed. The UN was able to deliver 750 metric tonnes of WFP wheat as well as blankets, quilts, sweaters, and jackets made available by UNICEF.

Negotiations with both parties to the conflict who agreed to allow this humanitarian effort were very positive. Ms. Bunker credited both sides with help in eliminating mines and other obstacles on the road. UN mine clearance teams initially cleared the front line area and subsequently escorted each convoy. To a question Ms. Bunker said that one mine was found on the road on one trip.

The five convoys travelled from Kabul across the frontlines between 2 and 10 December. They delivered the supplies for the Panjshir Valley to a warehouse at the mouth of the Panjshir, and distribution of items is now well underway.

The UN currently estimates that about 7000-8000 displaced families are still in Panjshir. These families have now received both food and non-food items. Ms. Bunker stressed that further cross lines convoys will be required. Other access into the area is via two roads from the northeast, of which one is closed and the other only intermittently open.

The shelter programme for the displaced in the Panjshir is also expected to be completed early next week. So far the NGO ACTED in the area has repaired 1170 shelters and has built almost 500 new shelters. Displaced families have begun moving into the shelters.

Meanwhile assistance to the displaced in Kabul is continuing. The diplomatic compound in Kabul, home to 16,000 internally displaced persons, also houses about 8000 children. Two playgrounds have been established in the compound, which contain swings, a slide, a merry-go-round, a seesaw, a climbing frame, football and volleyball. In addition, CARE has constructed protective fences in high areas of the compound where children could fall. Save the Children (US) has distributed 1331 heaters (one per room) and will also distribute wood as well, while the UN has provided 1,200 kerosene lamps. WFP food aid to compound residents continues.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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