300,000 Afghan children face illness, even death, in freezing conditions
More than 300,000 Afghan children face freezing winter conditions that could lead to illness, in the worst cases death, without proper winter clothing and heating, Save the Children warned this week.
Afghan voice agency (AVA)_The organization’s country director in Afghanistan, Chris Nyamandi, said in a statement on Thursday that while schools are closed until March in the coldest parts of the country, this is a serious blow because often the classroom is the only source of warmth for children during winter – where temperatures can plummet to below minus 27 degrees Celcius.
Concern has been raised following an early onset of – and heavy snowfalls.
“The early snow in the northern parts of Afghanistan where we work has impacted children particularly badly. The most vulnerable children are those whose schools have shut because of the winter conditions.
“Their families don’t have the money to buy winter clothing. Instead children are forced to huddle at home to escape the bitter cold.
“It also means it is more difficult for us to reach these children to provide them with winter clothing. We must go from home to home to deliver thick coats and blankets,” Nyamandi said.
According to Save the Children, ongoing conflict has also destroyed many homes and forced thousands of children, along with their families, to shelter in camps for the homeless. There they risk hunger, disease, including -19, even death from freezing temperatures.
“The situation is bleak for children forced to live in camps in places like province. It is already very cold in this northern province with overnight temperatures as low as minus ten. But it will get much colder before March,” said Nyamandi.
“Here, and in camps in other parts of Afghanistan, plastic sheeting and the clothes they wear are often all that separates them from the freezing temperatures.
“For thousands of children the Afghan winter is a time of grim survival,” he added.
In light of this, Save the Children plan to provide winter kits to more than 100,000 families in 12 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
These winter kits include fuel and a heater, blankets and winter clothes for children including coats, socks, shoes, hats and Vaseline.
Shelter repair kits will also be provided to for people made homeless by the fighting and in some cases, 12 weeks rent for families at risk of .