people will have seen over the past few months images which show
the terrible suffering of Afghanistan's refugees and in particular
the children the injured bodies which show the physical suffering
of those children and the bewildered, haunted expressions which
reveal their emotional trauma. They have arrived in camps with nothing
except the clothes they are wearing. No reports or pictures can
adequately convey the squalor and degradation of the conditions
in which those children barely cling to life.
Over the past couple of years I have visited the refugee camps near Peshawar in Pakistan several times, yet every time I went, armed with the painful knowledge of previous visits, I was always unprepared for what I encountered there.
camps resembled vast dumping grounds with endless rows of tents
made from plastic bin-liners. By far the most disturbing sight was
the thousands of refugee children; starving, physically exhausted,
disorientated and debilitated by disease but also emotionally traumatised
by fear, uncertainty and grief. Almost every child in the camp had
lost at least one close family member to war. Many had seen a parent
die in front of them in the camp.
is estimated that the lives of 1.5 million Afghan refugee children
under the age of five are now at serious risk. One in four children
born in Afghanistan today will die before their fifth birthday and
half of all Afghan children are undernourished.
children are one of the most traumatised child populations in the
world and we are witnessing a massive-scale humanitarian tragedy
unfolding in front of our eyes. If we choose to turn a blind eye
then millions more children will die.
of the Appeal - Communication to donors.