Kabul: Around 20,000 people displaced in makeshift camps have been evicted by the Afghan interim government in Badghis province, Afghanistan, in sub-zero temperatures, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) reports.
“In the midst of another harsh Afghan winter approximately twenty thousand displaced people have been evicted from their homes in Badghis province by Taliban authorities. Many now have no food to feed their children and no way of keeping warm as temperatures drop below zero,” said Neil Turner, NRC’s country director in Afghanistan.
Previous decades of fighting, and more recently drought, have forced thousands of families to flee their homes in the rural areas of Badghis and seek out safety and humanitarian support in the capital, Qala-e-Naw. They have eked out an existence on the city’s outskirts, relying on haphazard combinations of humanitarian assistance and manual labour.
The authorities in Badghis have insisted these families return to their original homes and that the settlements are dismantled, but many of them claim they cannot survive in these regions due to security and economic issues.
The humanitarian community has initiated negotiations and pilot return projects with the aim of making these returns gradual but this has not made the authorities relent. The NRC has launched an emergency response to provide cash grants and basic necessities to families who have left Badghis province.
“All evictions must stop until the Taliban authorities, with the support of the international and humanitarian communities, have found long-term solutions for the highly vulnerable displaced communities,” denounced Turner
According to NRC data, some 2 million IDPs survive in 1,000 large spontaneous shanty-type settlements in nearly 30 provinces of Afghanistan in precarious conditions and highly dependent on humanitarian aid.
The latest humanitarian response plan highlights Afghanistan’s situation as one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. The country is entering its third consecutive year of drought and second consecutive year of economic decline, while also experiencing the consequences of decades of conflict and recurrent natural disasters.