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The Terre des hommes Foundation estimates that humanitarian aid distributed by airdrops in Afghanistan is extremely dangerous, especially for the children. Keeping in mind their desperate situation, the Afghans will try and reach the supplies at the risk of becoming victims of the anti personnel mines: Afghanistan is one of the most mined countries in the world and mapping of their presence is unknown.
Until now, the humanitarian and development aid agencies present in Afghanistan have been seeking to carry out a distribution of aid supplies in an equitable and targeted manner for those in need. Apart from the fact that an important quantity of the foods are dropped in inaccessible mountainous areas and will be simply lost, the haphazard droppings will benefit only those healthy enough to reach them. The vulnerable people - widows, elderly people and the sick - will have no access to them. Furthermore, it is to be feared that the commanders of the various warring factions will seize the parcels so as to pay their own troupes, which will in turn help to prolong the war. Finally it is important to note that the contents of these dropped parcels do not correspond to the dietary habits of the Afghans.
Given the fact that seven Million Afghans are in an urgent need of food, it is necessary to open a humanitarian corridor in Afghanistan. This would allow a direct and massive supply by land by specialised humanitarian aid organisations in an efficient and equitable distribution.
Terre des hommes projects operate more than ever
The Foundation remains active thanks to its local staff in the province of Rustaq (zone which is held by the Alliance of the North) as well as in Kabul. In Kabul, the situation has not changed in the past few days. Even if the bombardments have provoked explosions, which have broken the windows of the Terre des hommes delegation, the teams continue to work courageously.
The 30 midwives, responsible for the home-visit programme in Kabul, continue to go from house to house so as to treat and accompany the newborns and the pregnant women. The clinic - supported by Terre des hommes - is presently crowded by patients as it is one of the remaining medical health stations to be sufficiently supplied with medical drugs. 60 % of the mother and child health centres in Kabul were, before September 11th, supported by NGOs' which have left the country. As a result the mothers and their children seek aid in other centers in the city.
Lausanne, 11th October 2001
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