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Afghanistan - ICRC starts food aid for detainees

25-04-2002 News Release 17

The ICRC last week started a therapeutic feeding programme in Shibergan prison, in northern Afghanistan, after delegates detected malnutrition at the end of March among detainees being held there.

The organization immediately distributed rations of the food it had on hand and began taking the logistical steps needed to provide nutritional therapy. Four large tents, each with a capacity of over 500 patients, were brought in and set up inside the prison compound. The prison's 2,800 detainees were then screened to select the most severely malnourished cases requiring intensive treatment. These were taken to the tents and are now being fed five times a day with high-calorie, protein-enriched milk and/or a mix of normal food with high lipid content. The team carrying out the operation includes medical and nutritional specialists who will remain in Shibergan throughout. 

The ICRC is supplying the remaining detainees rice, legumes and ghee to increase the quality and quantity of their food intake. Special high-protein and vitamin-enriched biscuits are also being distributed.

Meanwhile the organization is making representations at all levels – local, national and international – with a view both to ensuring that the detaining authorities shoulder their responsibility to provide proper conditions of detention and to bring about a lasting solution.

Since ICRC visits to Shibergan began in November, it has furnished the detainees with blankets, clothes, shoes, sanitary items and set up large tanks to supply 20,000 litres of water per day. Equipment has been installed to treat and dispose of sewage. In addition, the prison clinic has been regularly supplied with medicines and other supplies.