Two refugee children who escaped Afghanistan as the Taliban took over have died foraging for food while awaiting approval to enter Europe.
Two refugee children fleeing Afghanistan have died after ingesting poisonous mushrooms while awaiting approval to cross the Polish border, as Europe begins to feel the impact of the Taliban’s takeover in the Middle East.
A six-year-old boy fell critically ill and needed a liver transplant, but passed away in hospital. His brother, five, also died.
“Unfortunately, we were not able to help the two boys,” hospital director at the Warsaw Centre for Children‘s Health Institute, Marek Migdal, told reporters.
It is understood the two brothers had collected highly poisonous death cap mushrooms with their older sister in the forest around a refugee centre in Podkowa Lesna.
The three minors were all hospitalised, with only the 17-year-old girl surviving.
Jakub Dudziak, a spokesperson for the Foreigners‘ Office responsible for running migrant centres in Poland, denied reports that the children had eaten the mushrooms because they were not sufficiently fed by authorities.
That’s despite four Afghan men being hospitalised after eating poisonous mushrooms in a separate incident near a different refugee camp in Warsaw.
“In connection with this unfortunate accident, employees of the centres will raise awareness among Afghan citizens not to consume products of unknown origin,” Mr Dudziak said.
Conditions are dire on the Polish border, where scores of hopeful migrants sit waiting for approval into Europe.
Poland completed its evacuation from Afghanistan last week, removing an estimated 1,231 people from the now Taliban-occupied capital of Kabul.
A woman collapsed this week, with local medical workers unable to revive her for over 40 minutes. When campaigners called an ambulance to assist another migrant, local police reportedly stopped the vehicle from gaining access.
“It has never happened to me to feel such helplessness, being so close to people that need immediate assistance and not being able to help just because the government is saying that nobody‘s allowed to access the place where they’re camping,” Polish human rights lawyer Marta Górczyńska told The World.
Elsewhere in Europe, United States Army soldiers have prepared a training base in Grafenwoehr, Germany, to provide temporary lodging to Afghanistan evacuees as part of Operation Allies Refuge.
Video filmed on August 24 shows tents and beds being prepared at the US Army Garrison Bavaria’s Grafenwoehr Training Area for evacuees.
The Department of Defence said that its European command had received nearly 8,000 evacuees between August 20 and 24, and said it was considering other locations in Germany, Italy, and Spain in preparation to receive flights.
The US Army said Afghan evacuees will receive support, including temporary lodging, food, and medical screenings and treatment, at the Rhein Ordnance Barracks and Grafenwoehr base, as they complete the Special Immigrant Visa application process.