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Afghanistan: UNHCR very concerned by fighting in north

Briefing notes

Afghanistan: UNHCR very concerned by fighting in north

8 June 2001

UNHCR is very concerned about the renewed fighting in northern Afghanistan. Several thousand families have reportedly been displaced in Sar-i-Pul district of Jowzjan Province. This upsurge in warfare could send thousands of people fleeing towards Afghanistan's borders, putting additional pressure on countries long-burdened by millions of Afghan refugees. In Pakistan, UNHCR and its partners have intensified efforts to ease the suffering of thousands of Afghans encamped at the inhospitable Jalozai site, near Peshawar. Progress has been made in providing better health care, additional water supplies and improving the sanitary conditions. But despite the overall improvements, the extreme summer heat, congestion and the unhygienic conditions continue to have adverse effects on Jalozai's Afghans. A total of 43 people, mostly children, have died since the first of May, out of the more than 57,000 Afghans reported at the site. Water tankers now deliver 840,000 litres to Jalozai daily, up from 700,000 litres last month, ensuring an average of 14 litres per person, and this will be increased to 18 litres by the end of June once new wells come online. Sanitation has been improved with 1,335 latrines currently in use, one for every 42 persons, 50 laundry platforms have been constructed, and 200 wash rooms are being built. Jalozai now has four oral rehydration and cholera management centres. Two health centres provide oral rehydration therapy around the clock, and health workers have also completed a tent-by-tent campaign to train mothers on the preparation and use of oral rehydration salts.