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Afghanistan: Increasing displacement in the south

Briefing notes

Afghanistan: Increasing displacement in the south

3 October 2006

UNHCR is concerned about the increasing number of people internally displaced in southern Afghanistan as a result of recent hostilities between government forces, NATO and insurgents. Since July, an estimated 15,000 families have been displaced in the southern provinces of Kandahar, Uruzgan and Helmand. This fresh displacement adds new hardship to a population already hosting 116,400 people earlier uprooted by conflict and drought.

The Afghan government has created a Disaster Management Committee in Kandahar to coordinate relief efforts. The committee is working in coordination with the United Nations, led by UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan). UNHCR, together with UNICEF, has distributed non-food items such as plastic sheeting, blankets and warm clothes for children to approximately 3,200 families in Panjwai and Zhare Dasht in Kandahar province. WFP [World Food Programme] is providing food aid. The government is currently assessing the needs of the displaced in the southern provinces and UNHCR is ready to assist when it's clear what is required.

We expect further displacement may take place until conditions are safe for the population to return to their homes. Some families were reported to have gone back from Kandahar city to Panjwai and Zhare Dasht during daylight, but to have returned to Kandahar city at night as they felt it was too insecure to stay overnight. UNHCR has no information on population movements to other districts.