Monday, May 16, 2016

Little aid in the Afghan War

About 1,000 Afghans have fled their homes due to fighting each day since the beginning of the year, and aid workers can’t reach many of them, the UN says. Internal displacement due to conflict rose 40 percent from 2014 to 2015, and this year could see another increase. About 118,000 people fled their homes in the first four months of 2016, the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, said in a report yesterday.

“It’s been a rather alarming rise in the number of families displaced,” Stacey Winston, an OCHA spokeswoman in the Afghan capital, Kabul, told IRIN.

The northeastern province of Kunduz has been especially hard hit this year. So far, 22,400 people have been forced from their homes by fighting between the Taliban and government forces backed by international military. Many of those displaced have been repeatedly forced from their homes. Of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, 24 have recorded some level of forced displacement this year, and a quarter of those displaced are in areas that are difficult to access.

For example, aid agencies know that 10,500 people are displaced in Dehrawud District in Uruzgan Province, but they can’t reach them. Agencies were initially able to conduct an assessment and found urgent health concerns, as well as food, water and shelter needs. But fighting has since blocked the road into the area, and displaced families have been stranded for weeks without help. Likewise, the OCHA report notes, relief agencies have not managed to deliver aid to people displaced in districts outside of Kunduz City. The situation doesn’t look like it’s going to improve anytime soon.

The OCHA report asks: “In a year when the Taliban have gained more control of the countryside than ever before, is the UN and NGO part of the international aid community balanced to assist both sides of the conflict?”

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