For UK: Locations Open for Donations of Blankets and Warm Baby Clothes for Afghans, Following Child Freezing Deaths
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TELEPHONE: +44(0) 7 814399 646
EMAIL: info AT britishafghanwomen.org
OR RALPH LOPEZ
TELEPHONE: 617-412-9438 (USA)
EMAIL: ralphlopez AT hotmail.com
MARCH 19, 2012
After a deadlier than usual Afghan winter for young children in which at least 40 children under age 5 have frozen to death, more than half of those in and around Kabul, the British Afghan Women's Society is ready to launch an air cargo of warm baby clothes, baby formula, and other items which is the result of an outpouring of sympathy by Britons and people around the world. Londoners and others have responded overwhelmingly to calls for donations of such items last month, after it was reported in the media that many babies had frozen to death.
As reported by the BBC by Mr. Andrew North on 21 February, "Nearly 40 children have frozen to death in Afghanistan, according to Afghan officials, as the country experiences one of its harshest winters in decades."
The approximately 2,000 kilogram lift will be transported from Liege Airport in Belgium to Kabul through the donated assistance of Global HeavyLift Holdings LLC, a civilian cargo transport company based in Bloomfield Hills, MI.
"It's the first week of Afghan New Year. This will mean so much to them" said ZarGhona Rassa, a well-known journalist and director of the British Afghan Women's Society.
Help is stil being sought in transporting the cargo from London to Liege Airport in Belgium. Truckers or truck companies who may be willing to donate transportation services are urges to call Ms. ZarGhona Rassa of the British Afghan Women's Society at:
Telephone: +44(0) 7 814399 646
or email: info AT britishafghanwomen.org
"Given the urgency of matters, we believe the optimal approach is arranging for direct shipment aboard Bagram bound RAF C-17s", says Global HeavyLift Director of Middle-East Operations Benjamin Ballout. "Every effort is being made to implement this strategy. Moreover, it precludes the necessity of clearances for non-military aircraft flying into a conflict arena. Nevertheless, it remains an option."
Global HeavyLift is also seeking to provide heavy duty pick-up trucks through its automotive industry colleagues in senior leadership positions.
Donations are being accepted at points in North, South, East, and West London. The North location is the postal delivery address, at:
Community House, 311, Fore Street, Edmonton, N9 0PZ, London, UK
Telephone: +44(0) 7 814399 646
Email: info AT britishafghanwomen.org
In Kabul, at least 23 children under age five froze to death since Jan. 15th, in the Kabul refugee camps where 35,000 people live, most of whom are fleeing the figting and violence in other parts of the country. Most of the refugees in the squalid camps livein unheated mud huts, or tents. Although death by cold or starvation, especially among young children, is a common occurence every winter in rural areas, this year the world was shocked as dozens infants and young children froze in the most populous and secure city in Afghanistan, in the capitol of Kabul. Andrew North of the BBC reported on 21 February on Mr. Samid Gul, who had recently lost an infant daughter. Mr. Gul said:
"We were up all night trying to keep her warm, but there weren't enough blankets. Then we heard her cough. It was her last breath."
The temperatures on the coldest nights in Kabul ranged from just below freezing to minus-ten degrees Celsius, for refugees essentially living outdoors with no heat.
In January the BBC's Bilal Sarwary reported of life in Kabul in general that "Many homes lack basic heating and many Afghans simply do not have enough clothes to keep them warm." The deaths in Kabul were also reported by Rod Nordland of the New York Times.
Monetary donations are also being accepted to buy further items for the cargo load. American credit cards can be used even though donations are denominated in British pounds. A small conversion fee may be charged. Please reference donation with the note "winter012."
UPDATE: Starvation Among Children in Afghanistan Reaches Epidemic Proportions
According to Save the Children, who are working in Afghanistan, 60% of Afghan children - more than 15 million - are chronically malnourished, and starvation kills 30,000 each year . ITN’s Emma Murphy reports from an Afghan hospital.
BBC: "Children freeze to death in Kabul winter":
BBC: "Little Comfort in Afghan Cold"
"Child Malnutrition Rises in Afghanistan as Obama Renews "Committment" to Rebuild" by Ralph Lopez
"In the Midst of $2 Billion Per Week Spending on War, Babies Freezing in Kabul for Lack of Food, Fuel" by Ralph Lopez
IRIN News Agency: "Food shortages cause grass eating, displacement":
Driven Away by a War, Now Stalked by Winter’s Cold" by Rod Norland, New York Times, Feb.3, 2012
"Uncovering the Sadness of Young Deaths", by Rod Nordland/Andrea Bruce photography, New York Times, Feb. 8, 2012
The author is co-founder of Jobs for Afghans.