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    Winter aid being distributed to Helmand families

    LASHKARGAH (PAN): The process of distributing winter assistance to 1,000 families in southern Helmand province started on Wednesday, an official said.

    Provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), the assistance is being distributed to families which migrated to the provincial capital, Lashkargah, from restive districts.

    Refugees and Repatriation Director Ghulam Farooq Noorzai said each family would receive tarpaulins, blankets, socks, shoes, jackets, shawls and $26 (128 afghanis) in cash for fuel. The deserving households were identified in a survey.

    Shawali, 57, a beneficiary of the aid, said the assistance was inadequate and called for more help. "No one in our 12-member family has a job," he added.

    UNHCR officials on Tuesday said around 34,500 vulnerable families, more than 200,000 individuals, would be provided with winter assistance.

    The UNHCR had already purchased and pre-positioned winter supplies, including over 207,000 blankets and 69,000 plastic sheets, together with 34,500 packages of warm clothing and fuel (gas, charcoal, coal and firewood), for countrywide distribution, they said.

    The packs were being distributed to 9,000 newly returned refugee families in eastern and southeastern regions; 6,000 families in the north and northeastern regions; 7,000 families in the western region; 6,500 families in the south; and more than 6,000 families in the central and central highlands.