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Nearly 4,000 families flee Pakistan for Kunar

Crisis in Afghanistan, 7 October 2008

UNHCR Kabul Briefing Note, 29 September 2008

Kabul, 29 September (UNHCR) More than 3,900 families, or around 20,000 individuals, have fled fighting in Bajaur Agency of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), into Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan since summer.

A total of 3,964 families have sought refuge in the districts of Shigal (2,120 families), Marawara (748), Dangam (706) and some 390 families in other districts of Kunar province.

In the last two weeks alone, over 600 Pakistani families have fled into Afghanistan. While the vast majority of them are living with their relatives and friends, there are already some 200 families who live in the open air.

The humanitarian response is coordinated and closely monitored through the provincial government in close cooperation with UN agencies and international organizations. UNHCR coordinates the response of the international community and other non-governmental organizations to ensure the effective delivery of assistance, that the basic needs of the displaced families are properly addressed and to maximize the use of limited available resources.

So far, UNHCR has provided relief materials such as plastic sheets, blankets, jerry cans and lanterns to the families in Marawara and Dangam. It is also funding a mobile clinic to visit five days a week in Shigal and Marawara. Agencies like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) and UNICEF have also distributed relief items to the refugees in various parts of Kunar province.

The provincial government, the World Food Programme, ICRC and ARCS have provided food packages. UNICEF has provided medical kits while the World Health Organisation has started a polio campaign in three affected districts.

Plastic sheets have also been given to the host families to help them cope with the added burden. UNHCR is considering providing support to the host families in improving their current accommodation in order to provide basic comfort to the displaced.

UNHCR anticipates that the majority of the displaced families will return to Pakistan as soon as the security situation in Bajaur improves.




UNHCR country pages

Afghanistan: Rebuilding a War-Torn Country

The cycle of life has started again in Afghanistan as returnees put their shoulders to the wheel to rebuild their war-torn country.

Return is only the first step on Afghanistan's long road to recovery. UNHCR is helping returnees settle back home with repatriation packages, shelter kits, mine-awareness training and vaccination against diseases. Slowly but surely, Afghans across the land are reuniting with loved ones, reconstructing homes, going back to school and resuming work. A new phase in their lives has begun.

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Afghanistan: Rebuilding a War-Torn Country

Rebuilding Lives in Afghanistan

With elections scheduled in October, 2004 is a crucial year for the future of Afghanistan, and Afghans are returning to their homeland in record numbers. In the first seven months of 2004 alone, more than half a million returned from exile. In all, more than 3.6 million Afghans have returned since UNHCR's voluntary repatriation programme started in 2002.

The UN refugee agency and its partner organisations are working hard to help the returnees rebuild their lives in Afghanistan. Returnees receive a grant to cover basic needs, as well as access to medical facilities, immunisations and landmine awareness training.

UNHCR's housing programme provides tool kits and building supplies for families to build new homes where old ones have been destroyed. The agency also supports the rehabilitation of public buildings as well as programmes to rehabilitate the water supply, vocational training and cash-for-work projects.

Rebuilding Lives in Afghanistan

The Reality of Return in Afghanistan

Beyond the smiles of homecoming lie the harsh realities of return. With more than 5 million Afghans returning home since 2002, Afghanistan's absorption capacity is reaching saturation point.

Landmine awareness training at UNHCR's encashment centres – their first stop after returning from decades in exile – is a sombre reminder of the immense challenges facing this war-torn country. Many returnees and internally displaced Afghans are struggling to rebuild their lives. Some are squatting in tents in the capital, Kabul. Basic needs like shelter, land and safe drinking water are seldom met. Jobs are scarce, and long queues of men looking for work are a common sight in marketplaces.

Despite the obstacles, their spirit is strong. Returning Afghans – young and old, women and men – seem determined to do their bit for nation building, one brick at a time.

Posted on 31 January 2008

The Reality of Return in Afghanistan

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