There is considerable debate among aid organizations regarding what to do with the estimated 35,000 people living in refugee camps in Kabul. They are victims of what one author described as a “pitiless Catch-22 policy” established by international humanitarian aid providers” (click HERE for New York Times article). The World Food program stopped providing food to the camps last year. What’s the catch? I’ve extracted some information from the article to save you some time.
The camps do not qualify for development aid because they are viewed as temporary facilities– and many Afghan officials oppose their presence. On the other hand, because the camps have been in a state of “chronic emergency” for a long time, most aid donors view that, as, by definition, no longer a humanitarian crisis. “People seem to think you can’t call it an emergency if it has been going on for 10 years, but it is, said Julie Bara of Solidarities International, a French aid organization.”
While the debate waged on, the refugee families just endured the coldest January in 20 years. Most nights dropped below 20 degrees. Not everyone survived. Over 22 children living in the camps in Kabul died last month. According to a recent survey taken, one out of every seven children living in the Kabul camps will not survive until his or her sixth birthday.
Pictured above and below are buckets of rice donated by Stop Hunger Now and packed by TIE volunteers, that were distributed last week to children selected by TIE’s teachers. They chose students coming from the poorest families living in their villages. It’s not easy selecting the poorest among the poor in the 7th poorest country in the world. Our teachers disappoint more than they please in this process.
This week we will be distributing rice and clothing to several hundred families living in refugee
camps in Kabul and to the 76 street children’s families sponsored through TIE. It’s not difficult to know where we come down in the debate. Surely there must be a solution to eliminating the camps that does not allow children to starve and freeze to death.
Thanks again to all of you who donated and packed the rice and clothing. Yes, we will have another packing party, sometime in June. Date, place and time to be announced later. Plan your clothing drives for May. According to Stop Hunger Now, there will also be more rice to pack.
Sitting in my heated office I remain, ever more grateful,
ps This last 30,000 pound plus shipment through the Denton program included enough rice for 120,000 meals for over 850 families. Using an average of 8 members per family that’s over 6,600 people! Our reach continues to grow thanks to an ever increasing number of supporters. Join us! In the war for hearts and minds you can’t beat people to people exchanges.