UN announces $12.5 million plan to help vulnerable Afghans this winter

UN announces $12.5 million plan to help vulnerable Afghans this winter

As temperatures drop in Afghanistan, the Government and the United Nations have devised a $12.5 million plan to help the country's most vulnerable people during winter, a UN spokesman announced today.

An estimated 1.7 million people, including 1.3 million in rural areas, will need assistance during the cold season, spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva told the press in Kabul. Food needs are expected to be covered, but "we have a shortfall of non-food-items," including blankets, plastic sheeting, tents, stoves, coal, door frames and other house repair materials, he said.

In assessing who faces the greatest risk during winter, attention focused on those who will be isolated due to snow or other seasonal physical obstacles, returnees and internally displaced people, and the urban homeless. "In other words, the poorest of the poor," Mr. de Almeida e Silva said.

Meanwhile, amid reports of attacks on schools in parts of Afghanistan, the spokesman reported on an instance "not of destruction but of construction" involving a UN project to rebuild the Qala-i-Now Girls High School in Badghis province.

"The demand for education in the province was so great that students began to occupy the building while construction was only 80 per cent complete," he said. The school will accommodate 1,200 pupils in the area.