• Agencies urge action to prevent winter deaths among displaced

Agencies urge action to prevent winter deaths among displaced

22 October 2012

Amnesty International, BAAG and 28 other agencies are calling for urgent action to prevent deaths among half a million internally displaced Afghans this winter.

More than 100 people, mostly children, died in displacement camps in Afghanistan during last year's unusually cold winter conditions.

In an open letter to the UN, the Afghan government and international donors, the agencies called for the immediate launch of a winter assistance campaign to safeguard the lives of the displaced (IDPs).

"What happened last year was a preventable tragedy and should act as a sharp reminder that emergency assistance must be provided immediately before the winter arrives," said Polly Truscott, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Programme.  She is currently in Afghanistan to discuss the situation of the internally displaced.

The UN says displacement has reached record levels in the country as a result of rising conflict and insecurity.

The open letter welcomes the fact that the Afghan government has started to develop a national IDP policy after last year's crisis, but stresses that such policies take time and money to design and implement. 

It points out that the 2011 budget of Afghanistan's Ministry for Refugees and Repatriation was not enough to address even the most basic assistance and protection needs.  Meanwhile, it notes, the international international humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan has been only 34 per cent funded.

To read the full open letter click here