Amnesty International Calls for International Assistance for Prevention of Child Freezing Deaths In Afghanistan, as Private Citizens Commit Cargo Plane for Airlift. Private Effort Still Seeking Donations
LONDON, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The international non-governmental organization Amnesty International has called for action and cooperation to prevent a repeat of last winter's freezing deaths of at least 100 children in Afghanistan last winter. The freezing deaths took place in the Kabul refugee camps alone, which are easily accessible and are located in the most secure part of the country. In a press release, Amnesty International called on the UN, Afghanistan's donor partners, and non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty to:
"ensure that preparations are underway to meet the immediate needs of Afghanistan's substantial internally displaced population over the coming winter, including for food and water, shelter, heating
facilities, clothing and healthcare to minimise the adverse impact of the cold."
The release's timing follows the announcement by a consortium of private citizens, working under the project name "Deadra's Flight," that they would be airlifting 3-5 tons of winter baby clothes, blankets, and other winter items in response the multiple freezing deaths of children under age five last winter. The consortium is being led by the British Afghan Women's Society, which is transporting the supplies through the donated services of participating air cargo companies. The consortium is still seeking donations.
The Deadra's Flight announcement states:
"Following their success last Spring in delivering 2 1/2 tons of warm winter baby clothes, blankets, and supplies to the refugee camps in Kabul, the British Afghan Women's Society in London has collected nearly three tons of warm winter baby and children's clothes to send to the refugee camps in Kabul, Afghanistan."
To date the Deadra's Flight initiative has not been contacted by Amnesty International, the UN, or any of the international NGO's represented in Amnesty International's "an open letter to the UN, the Afghan government and international donors."
The British Afghan Women's Society has sent its own "Open Letter to the UN Secretary General on the Freezing Deaths of Children in Kabul Refugee Camps."
"We have a plane waiting on the tarmac at Liege, and hundreds of generous donors, ordinary people, doing the best they can to bring in baby hats, warm child's sock, and warm other children's clothes to us to increase the load," said Ms. Zarghona Rassa of the British Afghan Women's Society. "Interested donors should contact me at telephone: 0044(0)208 3736350. Or email me at email@example.com. We are making it easy to transform our well-meaning talk into action. We are pleased to assure that this assistance will go straight to the camps, to the neediest families."
The British Afghan Women's Society is located at:
Room 4, Community House, 311, Fore Street, Edmonton, N9 0PZ, London, UK
Questions may be directed to Zarghona Rassa at the email:
telephone: 0044(0)208 3736350
Last March the project bringing the winter cargo to the camps was dubbed Ismail's Flight, after the youngest of the children who had frozen to death in the camps that winter.
The freezing deaths of the children last winter were due to a lack of adequate clothing, blankets, heating fuel, and food. The people of the camps live in unheated tents in the Winter. Donations of blankets, warm baby clothes, children's clothes, boots, shoes, scarves, powdered milk, and baby formula are still being accepted. The projected take-off date for Deadra's Flight from Liege Airport is October 30th.
Monetary donations are also being accepted by the British Afghan Women's Society for the project. Please reference donation with the note "winter012." For more information please go to the following link:
Approximately 35,000 Afghans live in the refugee camps in Kabul, almost all of them fleeing the raging violence in the countryside. The freezing deaths of children in the camps were reported by the New York Times and the BBC last winter. The deaths were due to inadequate clothes, blankets, food, and fuel for heat for families living mostly in unheated tents. The world was shocked when it learned that the deaths took place in the most secure region of Afghanistan, which is a bustling hub of commercial and international activity.
Some have argued that NATO is in violation of the Geneva Convention which details "duties and responsibilities of an occupying power" under Article 59:
"If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal."
Media Contact: Ralph Lopez
Amnesty International Open Letter:
Amnesty International Press Release:
Urgent Appeal UK/US/EU/Asia/Middle-East - Help with Airlift of Winter
Children's Clothes to Afghanistan Wanted
UPDATE: "ISMAIL'S FLIGHT", A Conjoined Relief Effort of Kalitta Air,
DHL, Aviapartner, Fast Forward Freight and Global HeavyLift
Media Contact: Ralph Lopez, British Afghan Women's Society, 617-412-9438, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE British Afghan Women's Society