Pajhwok01/22/2013By [Printer Friendly Version]
KABUL - Seventeen internally-displaced people, mostly children, died of severe cold weather in Kabul and Herat provinces, the Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
The deaths took place in the first two weeks of the current month, the group said in a statement, calling the fatalities “a preventable tragedy".
About 100 people, mostly children and the elderly, lost their lives in the camps last year, prompting calls for effective measures to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.
Amnesty's deputy director Asia Pacific, Polly Truscott, said the new deaths reflected "the inadequate co-ordination of winter assistance to hundreds of thousands of people living in displacement camps across the country.”
Truscott observed: "The fact that children and the elderly are among the dead highlights the need to protect those groups that are most vulnerable to the harsh winter conditions."
In Herat province, assistance to the internally displaced people was apparently hampered as a result of pressure from the governor's office, the statement said.
"There is a desperate need to act now to prevent further deaths this winter. Afghanistan and its donor partners should remember that safeguarding lives in these settlements is an obligation under international law," Truscott stressed.