Himalayists for Afghanistan with the Polish Medical Mission
In recent weeks, dramatic images from Afghanistan have dominated news around the world. Polish Himalayan mountaineers, who have been associated with Asian peaks for decades, were not indifferent and joined the campaign led by the Polish Medical Mission. The aid for Afghanistan included: Piotr Pustelnik, Andrew Bargiel, Luke Kocewiak, Jaroslaw Botor i Boguslaw Magrel.
This region attracted climbers from all over the world who wanted to add the peaks of the Hindu Kush to their list of conquests. Afghanistan’s highest mountain, Noszak, is permanently inscribed in the history of Polish Himalayism. More than 60 years ago, a team of seven people led by Boleslaw Chwastinski stood on its summit for the first time, while breaking the Polish altitude record. 13 years later, Tadeusz Piotrowski and Andrzej Zawada were the only people in history to repeat the way to the summit, thus beginning the era of Polish winter Himalayanism. Without the Afghan seven-thousanders, the history of Polish mountaineering and extraordinary achievements would be much more modest, and certainly less colorful. Now that political unrest has once again halted aid and travel to Afghanistan, and as the country’s residents, mostly women, face violence under oppressive Sharia law, Polish Himalayans have joined the Polish Medical Mission in supporting a collection to secure urgent medical needs.
The needs on the ground are enormous, lacking not only medicines and medical supplies, but also access to doctors in particularly hard-to-reach and cut-off regions run by the new Taliban government. Malgorzata Olasinska-Chart From the Polish Medical Mission:
Polish athletes in this part of the world could fulfill their dreams of climbing the highest peaks of the Earth. Now, seeing the problems facing the region where they spent some of the most beautiful moments of their climbing careers, they have shown their solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, terrified of an uncertain future.
The climbers, who rely on the support of local guides, interpreters and doctors as part of their expeditions, have prepared recordings in which they talk about their feelings and emotions about the Himalayas and thus encourage support for a collection that will help save the lives of women and children in Afghanistan. Due to the sudden change in the political situation in the country, thousands of Afghans previously working with international organizations have lost their source of family income. The most difficult situation faced women, who were denied the opportunity to study and work, again condemning them to confinement at home. In a country plunged into chaos, as much as 93% of the population is not provided with enough food, and more than half live below the poverty line. Hospitals are running out of medicines, medical supplies and fuel to power generators, health care workers have not been paid for several weeks. Help from the Polish Medical Mission will help ensure the continued operation of the birthing rooms in Paktika and the hospital in Mazar Il Sharif.