Nimroz prisoners, Sar-i-Pul families assisted
ZARANJ/SAR-I-PUL (Pajhwok): Hundreds of prisoners in northwestern Nimroz province and about 250 families returning from Pakistan and Iran to northern Sar-i-Pul province were on Wednesday distributed relief goods, officials said.
In Nimroz, more than 500 prisoners and around 135 juvenile prisoners at the correctional facility inside the central jail in Zaranj were distributed the good by the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS).
Nimroz ARCS director Mohammad Hashim Ilham told Pajhwok Afghan News the aid was donated by ARCS and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
He said 10 prisoners each were distributed six packages that contained soaps, cleaning powder, tooth brushes, toothpastes, jackets and blankets, dust bins, gloves and medicines.
Abdul Ghafar, one of the prisoners, said they were in dire need of these items. He said most of the inmates were poor people and some abandoned by their families.
But Ghafar said their real problem was the lack of space and overcrowded cells as currently 10 inmates lived in a cell made for five people.
An official of the prison, who wished not to be named, confirmed the space problem, saying the jail was built in 1991 for holding 50 inmates only, but currently 550 prisoners, including 10 women, were being held at the facility.
The official added the Zaranj detention department had 20 acres of land but they had no budget to construct new blocks.
In Sar-I-Pul province, 252 families recently returning from Pakistan and Iran were given away cash assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Each family received 100 US dollars, but the recipients said the aid was insufficient to meet their needs.
UNHCR provincial spokesman Fahim Hamdard said 225 Afghan families returning from Pakistan and Iran and 27 internally displaced families received the cash assistance.
Bibi Khala, who was displaced from Kohistanat district to the provincial capital, said she received the aid. She said she was currently living in a rented house with her family.
She was happy for receiving the aid, but: “We cannot decide to pay this hundred dollars in house rent or buy something to eat. We were told to go to Sar-I-Pul city because the government is providing housing facilities, but we did not see such thing so far.”
Similar views were expressed by a number of other families who received the aid.
Sar-i-Pul refugees and repatriation director Eng. Abdul Ahmad thanked UNHCR, but said the aid could not meet people’s needs.
He said the families faced serious problems in the face of harsh winter, urging charity organizations and Afghan traders to come forward and help the poor families in this time of trouble.
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