UN agencies in Kandahar ready to help people during the winter
20 January 2010 - UN agencies in the south of Afghanistan are stepping up efforts to help the needy during the winter.
In Kandahar the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says that in southern Afghanistan 4,000 returnee and displaced families will receive help from the UN Refugee Agency this winter
The figures include 1,500 families from Helmand, 1,250 from Kandahar, 570 from Zabul and 500 from Uruzgan.
As temperatures drop around the country, United Nations agencies, their partners, and the Afghan Government, are working together to provide relief supplies to help some 200,000 vulnerable people cope with the harsh winter country-wide, including provinces in the southern region.
In addition to non-food assistance and heating materials, in certain areas in some provinces, more than 12,000 vulnerable families (72,000 individuals) will receive a cash voucher worth US$ 30 to buy heating materials or other items of their choice from identified retailers.
The winterization kit consists of patoos, sweaters, shoes and socks.
In addition, UNHCR is aiming to distribute kerosene to each vulnerable family instead of a US$ 30 cash voucher.
The assistance by UNCHR will start in the third week of January.
The material is already procured and pre-positioned in the provinces in anticipation of the blockage of roads during the winter.
Mr Abdul Jalil, from UNHCR Kandahar, said that the process for identifying those most in need is ongoing the Zhary internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan and Helmand provinces.
“The aim of the identification process is to select the most vulnerable families in need amongst the IDPs for assistance. UNHCR will distribute the winter kit/package – which includes, warm clothes, shoes and socks and heating material – to the identified vulnerable families”, said Mr Jalil.
In addition to UNHCR’s assistance, the World Food Programme (WFP) and World Health Organization (WHO) will provide assistance to vulnerable families during the winter.
The WHO Kandahar office has distributed anti-TB drugs to Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul and Uruzgan provinces.
WHO will also send-off five pneumonia kits to Uruzgan, three to Zabul and five kits to the Helmand office of the Ministry of Public Health.
In addition the WFP Kandahar office will assist 36,000 beneficiaries under the localized emergency winterization programme during the winter.
The assistance is planned to run from December 2009 to February 2010 for the southern provinces.
According to WFP Kandahar office the organization has allocated a total of 710 metric tons of mixed food for the beneficiaries.
The food package, for each family, includes wheat, pulses, oil and salt.
By Mujeeb Rahman, UNAMA