Hundreds of cave dwellers receive assistance in Bamyan
BAMYAN CITY (PAN): The Afghan Red Crescent Society (ACRS) has provided food assistance to hundreds of cave dwellers in the central province of Bamyan in response to a Pajhwok report about food scarcity among the residents.
A Pajhwok reporter interviewed some residents of caves in Bamyan a month ago. At the time, they did not know how they would provide the predawn meal and iftar for themselves and their children during Ramadan.
More than 250 homeless and destitute families from Bamyan and neighboring provinces live in caves where the Bamyan Buddhas used to stand. There are about 3,000 such caves.
The Red Crescent’s assistance are included 50 kilograms of rice, 16 kg of cooking oil, 10 kg of beans, seven kg of sugar, and one kg of dry tea, Mohammad Eshaq Puya, chief of ARCS, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
The assistance has been denoted for families who were living in dire poverty and were threatened with starvation.
"If we hadn't gotten the assistance, our children would have starved to death," said Mrs. Ali Hussain, who has been living in a cave for nine years with 12 family members. She said her husband is a day laborer and can only afford dry bread for the children.
She said that her children are small and are unable to work. She continued that sometimes the family does not eat the predawn Ramadan meal because they have no food.
But another cave dweller, Asadullah, who has an eight-member family, complained that he has not benefited from the assistance, though he claims to be the poorest person among in the area.
The ARCS said many more residents will be included in a second round of food assistance.
In addition to these 250 families, the ARCS chief said that his organization and the Italian Red Cross Society (IRCS) had also provided aid to another 750 poor families in the area. Those thousand families had received a total amount of aid worth $105,552 (about 5 million afghanis), he said.
The caves were used by Buddhists in the second through fifth centuries BCE and are now used as homes by destitute families.
The caves are located on both sides of where the giant Buddha statues of Bamyan stood for roughly 1600 years. The statues were destroyed by the Taliban.
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