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As cold weather grips Afghanistan, UN reviews winter preparedness programme

As cold weather grips Afghanistan, UN reviews winter preparedness programme

With cold weather tightening its grip on Afghanistan, a United Nations envoy said today the world body is undertaking a quick review of its winter support programme for the country to see if there is a need to increase support in the coming months.

Nigel Fisher, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan told reporters in Kabul that the demand for winter support is much greater than expected. While the winter preparedness programme was covering about 2.1 million of the most vulnerable Afghans, Mr. Fisher said, "we are getting from governors and others who say that besides those poorest of the poorer, we still have a lot of people who need emergency aid."

Meanwhile, Mr. Fisher also gave some details on the appeal for next year's "Transitional Assistance Programme for Afghanistan," which will be launched 17 to 18 December in Oslo. "We will tell the donors that less resources needs to come through the UN, more should go directly through the government," he said.

In other news, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that following the deaths of 10 children, delivery of emergency winter supplies is continuing for 3,350 internally displaced families in Spin Boldak.

According to a health expert, the recent severe drop in temperature - to 15 degrees below zero - seems to have been the primary cause of the deaths. This region of Afghanistan reportedly rarely experiences sub-zero temperatures, even during the height of the winter.