“So far in 2021, 330,000 people have been displaced by conflict across Afghanistan. Another five million people remain displaced since 2012,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported.
According to the report, the fighting has also been reported in new areas in the northeast province of Kunar, displacing 20,000 people within the province, and Nangahar Province.
“Nine UN and partner organizations’ teams are assessing needs in Kandahar. Last week, about 1,800 internally displaced people received food, relief items, and water and sanitation hygiene support as well as physiotherapy and cash assistance. In Kunar, UN and partner organizations are assessing needs and responding.
“Urgent needs include food, water, shelter, and health services,” the report said.
Maryam [not her real name] and her family are among an estimated 330,000 Afghans who have been newly displaced inside the country since the start of this year by an upsurge in violence.
“There was war. Bombs were being dropped. My father was killed there, and a lot of my relatives were killed as well and we had to flee. I was responsible for my children and I didn’t want them to be killed. So, I came here with my elderly mother,” Maryam said.
“Our situation is very difficult. As you can see, we are all displaced. Our children need food. They would ask for anything, they are children, they don’t know whether we have it or not.”
“We want a normal life just like everyone else. I want my children to become something in Afghanistan, to become doctors, engineers, or something. That is my hope,” she stated.
As conflict intensifies in northern Afghanistan and other parts of the country, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, warned of an imminent humanitarian crisis, saying failure to reach a peace agreement will see further displacement.
Fahim Hamdard, Senior Field Assistant, UN Refugee Agency, stated: “Over the last year, families have been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, a devastating drought and now increased violence in the north and northeast regions is driving more people from their homes every day.”
Amid an overall increase in civilian casualties, the proportion of women and children affected by violence has risen sharply since January, adding to the toll Afghanistan’s decades-long conflict has taken on people like Maryam and her family.
UNHCR and its partners are assisting newly displaced Afghans with emergency shelter, food, health care, water, and sanitation support, and cash assistance, but a shortage of funding means humanitarian resources are falling dramatically short.