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Charity Says 300,000 Afghan Children Face Illness, Death In Freezing Conditions

Internally displaced boys are reflected in a mirror inside their temporary home in the city of Kabul on December 30.

British-based charity Save the Children says more than 300,000 Afghan children are struggling to survive in freezing winter conditions without proper clothing and heating.

The ongoing 19-year conflict there has forces thousands of children to flee their homes and seek shelter in camps for internally displaced people (IDPs), the charity said in a statement on December 31.

"There they risk hunger, disease, including COVID-19, even death from freezing temperatures," the statement said.

Chris Nyamandi, Save the Children's country director in Afghanistan, said that early snowfall in northern Afghanistan has “impacted children particularly badly.”

"The most vulnerable children are those whose schools have shut because of the worsening winter conditions," he said. "Their families don't have the money to buy winter clothing. Instead, children are forced to huddle at home to escape the bitter cold."

Every year, schools are closed until March in the coldest areas of Afghanistan, a mountainous country where many areas are hit by heavy snow and temperatures drop as low as minus-30 degrees Celsius.

Save The Children has said it will provide “winter kits” to more than 100,000 families in 12 of Afghanistan's 34 province before March.

The kits should include fuel and a heater, blankets, and winter clothes for children, including coats, socks, shoes, hats, and Vaseline.

The charity said it will also provide shelter-repair kits for families displaced by the war and 12 weeks' rent for families at risk of homelessness.

In November, the charity said the war in Afghanistan had killed and wounded more than 26,000 children from 2005-19.

Those figures, it said, made Afghanistan the world’s deadliest country for children.

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