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17 Die from Cold in Afghan Refugee Camps

Afghan women line up to receive winter relief assistance donated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kabul, January 2, 2013.
Afghan women line up to receive winter relief assistance donated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kabul, January 2, 2013.
VOA News
The rights group Amnesty International says 17 people have died from cold weather conditions in Afghan refugee camps, and it warns against a repeat of last year, when 100 people died in the camps due to a lack of assistance.

Amnesty made the announcement Tuesday, saying that most of the 17 who died in the first two weeks of January this year were children.

A spokeswoman called the deaths "a preventable tragedy" and blamed "inadequate coordination of winter assistance" to the hundreds of thousands of people living in displacement camps across the country. She said the deaths demonstrate the need to protect the most vulnerable groups - children and the elderly - from the harsh winter weather.

Amnesty is calling on international donors and the Afghan government to make sure aid is delivered to those in need. It says that in one incident in the western province of Herat, the provincial government had not delivered aid to internally displaced people because officials feared the aid would encourage them to stay in the area rather than to return home.

  • Internally displaced Afghan children sit near their shelter at a refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 19, 2013.
  • Afghan women line up to receive winter relief assistance donated by the UNHCR in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 2, 2013.
  • Afghan women walk to receive food and other winter assistance donated by the UNHCR in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 2, 2013.
  • An Afghan woman receives winter relief assistance donated by the UNHCR in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 2, 2013.
  • An Afghan internally displaced man makes a fire to warm himself at a refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 27, 2012.

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