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Afghanistan: airlift planned to Kabul

31-01-1996 News Release 96/4

With the civilian population of Kabul increasingly deprived of food by a blockade, the ICRC has decided to organize an airlift as soon as possible to bring them relief. The operation is intended to allow the emergency programme already under way to continue assisting the most vulnerable members of society: disabled people and their dependants, widows and orphans. Of the estimated 800,000 inhabitants of Kabul and its suburbs, some 100,000 are currently being aided by the programme. The ICRC calculates that 1,000 tonnes of food (largely wheat, beans, oil, rice, salt, sugar and tea) are required monthly to meet their needs.

The last road into Kabul is now closed, and the ICRC's stocks in the city have dwindled rapidly over the past two weeks. " The city is suffering the harshest winter in four years " , said Peter Stocker, outgoing head of delegation. " The bakeries are shutting down one after the other. And the food crisis is being exacerbated by rampant inflation and a shortage of fuel: wood, coal and heating oil. Only one single road convoy has managed to reach Kabul since mid-January " . He added: " It's not only the poor who are affected by the blockade - the entire population is in danger. It is therefore vital to restore access to the capital " .

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