Dubai group steps in to help stricken Afghan village
A group of Dubai residents have brought much-needed shelter to a refugee camp in Afghanistan where more than a hundred children froze to death four years ago.
7DAYS reported in December that the Keep Qambar Warm campaign had been launched to help Afghan refugees through sub-zero temperatures.
And the fund-raising effort generated $7,000 (Dhs25,710) in three months for people in the Charahi Qambar Camp in Western Kabul and has helped to waterproof almost 300 homes.
The camp is one of the biggest in the Afghan capital and the people there struggle with no water, electricity or heat.
Most of the refugees in Qambar have been forced to flee from Helmand province, where attacks by the Taliban are the most frequent.
But now there is some respite, after the cam- paign secured 280 tarpaulins to help weatherproof homes.
One of the campaign volunteers, Dubaibased Scott Richards, said: “These children are living in mud-houses, walking in mud that is soaked, wet and cold. The dirt permeates everything. These mud huts are weak and they collapse, they don’t protect from the weather.
“What you can see in the faces of these children, kids living without education, is their spirit.
“They do their best to smile and make an impossible situation bearable. Apart from needing the world to help them, taking a good look at these little faces can teach the world about courage.”
Afghanistan has been plagued by conflict for decades. Thousands of children, women, and men have died and families have been wiped out due to fighting by the Taliban and other extremist groups.
The United Nations has recorded 1,592 people killed and 3,329 injured just in the first half of 2015, which is a 1 per cent increase from the first half of 2014.
The constant unrest in the country has caused almost two generations of children to be born and raised in refugee camps, where every winter they have to battle freezing temperatures - often without warm clothing or blankets.
Richards shared a tragic instance at the camp recently when a mud-house collapsed duthe rains, crushing an 18-month-old girl to death. He said the tragedy might have been prevented through the use of a simple tarpaulin that would have protected the structure against the weather.
Several expats have come forward to help with the campaign, including UK musician Craig Francis, who wrote and recorded the song Sleeping in the Shadow of the Sun.
Cliff Tender, a Dubai resident and DJ in Afghanistan, played the track in Kabul on Arman Radio, giving the song its international debut. The group has no plans to slow down the relief effort. There are a total of 1,300 refugees in the camp and the fund-raising campaign will continue. Details are available at www.facebook.com/keepqambarwarm.
Apart from needing help, taking a good look at these little faces can teach the world about courage
– Campaign volunteer Scott Richards