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Deaths of UN aid workers worsen

Deaths of UN aid workers worsen
10 October 2001

The deaths of four UN workers in the military raids on Afghanistan on Tuesday will worsen the humanitarian crisis in the country, Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke said today.

"I am saddened that four Afghans working for a UN-funded mine disposal group lost their lives in the continuing air assault," said Mr Locke.

"The deaths of these four UN workers will further discourage aid agencies from continuing or resuming food distribution and other humanitarian work despite the worsening crisis in Afghanistan," said Mr Locke.

International aid workers have left the country, and it is estimated that up to 7.5 million Afghan people - one third of the population - are facing starvation or homelessness.

"Refugees will find themselves with very little food and shelter as winter arrives in four or five weeks. Unless the bombing stops, no aid agency will be prepared to put their workers lives at risk to help them."

Mr Locke said there must be other civilian casualties from the continued bombing campaign, but information was likely to be sketchy.

"In a war situation, information is seen as one more weapon. It is unlikely that we will hear much about the accidental deaths of innocent civilians until much later."

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