Fresh fighting in Pakistan's North Waziristan displaces more than 75,000 into Afghanistan

News Stories, 2 July 2014

An aid distribution for some of the tens of thousands who have fled to eastern Afghanistan.

MATUN, Afghanistan, July 2 (UNHCR) A military offensive in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region has forced more than 75,000 people to flee their homes over the past two weeks, seeking shelter across the border in Afghanistan's Khost and Paktika provinces. Many left suddenly, with very few possessions.

"We could only manage to get ourselves out of Miranshah," one man told UNHCR staff, referring to the capital of the mountainous North Waziristan region. "We left all our belongings. The Pakistani government was bombing our villages," he claimed.

UNHCR, the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization and other partners are working to coordinate relief efforts and deliver assistance, providing tents and other basic relief items to the most vulnerable. However, sanitation, clean drinking water and medical care are in short supply, and although local communities have generously welcomed the displaced, already scarce resources are now reaching capacity.

Humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to support the host communities in sustaining the level of assistance they have been providing to displaced families. "I would also like to call upon the Afghan government and international community to assist these displaced families," said Wali, a local man who has been hosting four families from MIranshah in his home in Khost province's Matun district.

A former refugee in Pakistan, Wali said: "We were assisted by Waziristanis during the 1980s, when we fled Khost [during the Soviet occupation]. They welcomed us and extended their generous support. It is now our moral duty and obligation to assist and help these needy families."

One new arrival, Hassan, said he was grateful for Wali's generosity to his family, one among some 12,100 (75,000 people) to have so far crossed into the eastern Afghanistan provinces of Khost and Paktika. But Hassan noted that "although we were lucky to get the shelter here, there are still hundreds of families who are living in the open without any shelter."

In Pakistan, the government estimates that the latest fighting has left some 470,000 people internally displaced. Many have sought safety in the Khyber-Pakhtunkwa province.




UNHCR country pages

Internally Displaced People

The internally displaced seek safety in other parts of their country, where they need help.

Displaced by Fresh Fighting in North Kivu

Waves of fighting in eastern Democratic of the Republic since late April have displaced tens of thousands of people. Many have become internally displaced within the province, while others have fled to south-west Uganda's Kisoro district or to Rwanda via the Goma-Gisenyi crossing.

The stop-start clashes between government forces and renegade soldiers loyal to former rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda began in the province's Masisi and Walikale territories, but subsequently shifted to Rutshuru territory, which borders Uganda.

Between May 10-20, one of UNHCR's local NGO partners registered more than 40,000 internally displaced people (IDP) in Jomba and Bwesa sectors.

The IDPs are living in difficult conditions, staying in school buildings and churches or with host families. They lack food and shelter and have limited access to health facilities. Some of the displaced have reported cases of extortion, forced labour, beatings and recruitment of minors to fight.

UNHCR and other major aid organizations plan to distribute food, medicine and other aid. More than 300,000 people have been forcibly displaced in North and South Kivu since the start of the year, according to UN figures.

Displaced by Fresh Fighting in North Kivu

Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

Fighting rages on in various parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with seemingly no end in sight for hundreds of thousands of Congolese forced to flee violence and instability over the past two years. The ebb and flow of conflict has left many people constantly on the move, while many families have been separated. At least 1 million people are displaced in North Kivu, the hardest hit province. After years of conflict, more than 1,000 people still die every day - mostly of hunger and treatable diseases. In some areas, two out of three women have been raped. Abductions persist and children are forcefully recruited to fight. Outbreaks of cholera and other diseases have increased as the situation deteriorates and humanitarian agencies struggle to respond to the needs of the displaced.

When the displacement crisis worsened in North Kivu in 2007, the UN refugee agency sent emergency teams to the area and set up operations in several camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). Assistance efforts have also included registering displaced people and distributing non-food aid. UNHCR carries out protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs in North and South Kivu.

Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

The internally displaced of Iraq

Eight years after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, over 1.5 million people remain displaced throughout Iraq, including 500,000 who live in dire conditions in settlements or public buildings. For these very vulnerable people, daily life is a struggle with limited access to clean water, electricity, heath services or schools for their children. Many families who live illegally in informal settlements are at risk of eviction. Most of the internally displaced fled their homes because of sectarian violence which erupted in 2006 following the bombing of the Al-Askari shrine in Samarra. UNHCR works with the Government of Iraq on projects such as land allocation; shelter assistance and house reconstruction to try to find long term solutions for the displaced.

The internally displaced of Iraq

Central African Republic: Displaced at HomePlay video

Central African Republic: Displaced at Home

The Central African Republic has been marred by conflict since December 2013, displacing more than 830,000 people. More than half are refugees. As a fragile peace begins to take hold, thousands of people are returning to CAR. Many, however, still face further displacement at home.
There are more refugees and displaced people now than at any time since the Second World WarPlay video

There are more refugees and displaced people now than at any time since the Second World War

To help them, to know who they are, to give them support now and in the future UNHCR must use the most modern tools available. UNHCR plans to capture refugees' biometrics in up to 10 countries this year, and in all its operations by 2018.
South Sudan: Four Years On from IndependencePlay video

South Sudan: Four Years On from Independence

In 2011 the people of South Sudan celebrated their independence. Four years later, the world's newest nation is one of the world's worst humanitarian situations. In December 2013, conflict erupted displacing 2 million people including more than 600,000 refugees. South Sudanese has fled to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan. The crisis has especially impacted the next generation of South Sudanese, 70% of those displaced are children.