Press Release:

Aid needed urgently or “deaths this winter will rocket”

3 January, Kabul, Afghanistan: A British peace activist in Kabul has
issued a stark warning regarding the failure of NATO’s aid programme in
Afghanistan, after visiting an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp
in the capital.

Maya Evans (32) – who won a “partial victory” in the High Court last
year, regarding British complicity in torture in Afghanistan [2] –
visited the camp on Tuesday to deliver aid raised by other British
activists [3]. Some 300 destitute families – most of whom returned to
Afghanistan in early 2002 having fled the Taliban regime and the civil
war that preceded it – live on the derelict site in Kabul’s District 2,
with no access to electricity or clean water. Homeless and trapped by
mass unemployment, their tents are no match for the Afghan winter.

Last year, Refugees International reported that airstrikes and night
raids by US/NATO forces were destroying homes, crops and infrastructure,
traumatising civilians and displacing tens of thousands of people [4].
Nationally, the UN estimates that over 350,000 people are currently
internally displaced inside Afghanistan [5], and that less than a
quarter of all Afghans have access to safe drinking water [6].

Ms Evans said: “Though they have been able to find over $450bn fighting
a disastrous and immoral war, the US/UK have spent only a tiny fraction
of this sum on meeting genuine human needs in Afghanistan, with the
result that millions of Afghans are facing hunger and disease this winter.

“Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in the last year
due to NATO arming militias that have gone on to create violence in
local communities. These people are now living in some of the most
extreme poverty in the world – I’ve seen it with my own eyes.”

She added: “The children of the camp greeted me warmly with big smiles
and hugs. Despite living in severe poverty they still have love in their
hearts. Overnight the snows fell on Kabul, Winter has set in. Refugees
across Afghanistan urgently need aid otherwise deaths this winter will
rocket.”

Contact Gabriel on 07783 226 987 or Maya on +447973 484 202
Pictures available [1]

NOTES

[1] See attached files. Photos should be credited to Jon Stevenson.

[2] ”Partial victory’ in challenge to UK Taliban transfers’, BBC, 25
June 2010; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10412708

[3] Over £2,000, donated by the readers of Peace News
(www.peacenews.info) and the NUJ members at the Financial Times, was
used to purchase a lorry full of fire wood, and three tons of sugar,
tea, and bread making flour.

[4] “NATO airstrikes, night raids blamed for Afghan IDP crisis –report”,
Alertnet, 29 June 2011, http://www.refugeesinternational.org/node/4842

[5] “2011 UNHCR country operations profile – Afghanistan”,
http://tinyurl.com/unhcrafgh

[6] United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, “Humanitarian
Factsheet”, June 29, 2008

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