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Afghanistan: Spin Boldak ammunition dump explosion

Briefing notes

Afghanistan: Spin Boldak ammunition dump explosion

28 June 2002

An ammunition dump in Spin Boldak exploded last night around midnight, reportedly causing extensive damage to UNHCR's office, located some 70 metres away. One of UNHCR's drivers was injured and has been taken to Kandahar hospital about three hours away for treatment.

The head of UNHCR's Kandahar sub-office is now in Spin Boldak to inspect the damage. He is accompanied by some demining teams. Large amounts of unexploded ordnance are reportedly scattered throughout the area, having been blown from the ammunition dump. We have heard of six to seven local people who were killed in the massive blast.

There are five camps sheltering an estimated 32,000 displaced persons (IDPs) bracketing Spin Boldak. We've had no reports yet of any injuries involving any of the IDPs. UNHCR has been working in Spin Boldak to shift the IDPs back to their home areas, and to date we've transported more than 5,000 people from the five camps to their home areas.

Spin Boldak is the principal entry point for Afghans returning home from Pakistan's Baluchistan Province. Since March 1, more than 100,000 Afghan refugees have returned home via Spin Boldak. It will be vital to ensure that unexploded ordnance is cleared from the town to ensure the safety of its citizens and returnees travelling through the community.