1,200 poor families in Afghanistan’s Central Highlands receive UN winter assistance

21 Jan 2013

1,200 poor families in Afghanistan’s Central Highlands receive UN winter assistance

KABUL - A total of 1,200 poor returnee families in Afghanistan’s Central Highlands Region have received non-food items and “cold packages” from United Nations agencies to keep them warm this winter.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Bamyan said the UN agency completed distributing winterization packages for this winter season in Bamyan and Maidan Wardak provinces last week, while distribution in Dai Kundi province would be completed next week.

According to UNHCR’s Jawad Wafa, the winter assistance was first distributed in mid-November in Behsud I and II districts of Maidan Wardak province, followed by five districts of Bamyan province, with representatives of 98 identified families from Bamyan centre lining up for the goods at the UNHCR compound on 13-14 January.

On 13 January, 80 households from Bamyan centre received non-food items and cold packages from UNHCR and food items including sacks of wheat from the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Eighteen families from the UNHCR-assisted Shashpool returnee village also received WFP food items the following day.

The winter assistance distribution is a joint project of the UNHCR, WFP, the European Union (EU), Governments of Japan, Denmark and the Ministry of Refugee and Repatriation (MoRR).

Five hundred families from Maidan Wardak received the UNHCR packages that included one gas cylinder, three large woolen blankets, two 4x5-metre plastic sheets, two water jerry cans, a kitchen cooking set complete with pans and spoons and forks, and a bag of winter items (“cold package”) containing jackets, mittens, bonnets and other winter clothing for 4 to 10-year-old children as well as for adults.

Seven hundred families from five districts of Bamyan province also received the similar winter packages. In addition, the recipients from Bamyan centre, Shibar and Yakawlang districts also received wheat, cooking oil and salt from WFP totalling 52.47 metric tons.

“The beneficiaries consist mostly of women and children,” said UNHCR’s Wafa, adding that the UNHCR went house to house in identifying the “poorest of the poor” in the villages.

Among the beneficiaries was Latiffah, a widow with four children from Chardeh village in Foladi Valley. She came to the UNHCR with her young son who thumb-printed the receipt form for her. Around 70 families from Foladi Valley received the multi-agency packages this winter.

A happy Ali Reza, 11 years old and a Grade 7 resident student at a Bamyan orphanage, collected the package for his family as his father is disabled.

Rahmatullah, an unemployed cook with six children from Deah village in Sayed Abad, was very thankful for the package, as were all the beneficiaries. “We are very grateful and very happy for these warm clothing and food items. These will help us survive the four months of extreme winter in Bamyan,” he said.

By UNAMA Central Highlands Region