UNHCR is alarmed by the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Since the start of the year, conflict has already driven some 550,000 vulnerable people out of their homes – and numbers are growing by the day.

The human toll of spiralling hostilities is immense. The United Nations Assistance Mission has warned that without a significant de-escalation in violence, Afghanistan is on course to witness the highest ever number of documented civilian casualties in a single year since the UN’s records began.

“Utter devastation, which is unfolding in front of our eyes,” said Babar Baloch, UNHCR spokesperson. 

The impact of the conflict on women and girls is particularly worrying. Some 80 per cent of nearly a quarter of a million Afghans forced to flee since the end of May are women and children.

UNHCR Representative in Afghanistan, Caroline Van Buren said women in particular have been heavily impacted by the displacement caused by the conflict.

“We are getting reports that women who are fleeing are giving birth on the road, without any medical assistance. The information we have now is that women and children are almost 50 per cent of the civilian casualties, people who are killed or injured during all this violence,” said Caroline. 

Herati and her grandson carrying water on their way back to Nawabad Farabi-ha IDP camp. She sustained head injuries when her house was hit by a mortar. Her husband and son were severely injured and are currently at the hospital.

© UNHCR/Edris Lutfi

A regional overview map of Afghanistan. UNHCR is committed to stay and deliver during this emergency. 

© UNHCR/data source: UNHCR Operations, OCHA

“It is essential that the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls are protected.”

António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary General, voiced concern that a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan would bring “a return to the darkest days” for Afghan women and girls

“I am particularly concerned by accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan who fear a return to the darkest days,” António Guterres said on Monday.

“It is essential that the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls are protected.”

The overwhelming majority of Afghans forced to flee remain within the country, as close to their homes as fighting will allow. Since the beginning of this year, nearly 120,000 Afghans have fled from rural areas and provincial towns to Kabul province.

UNHCR, as part of the broader UN country team and lead in protection and emergency shelter in Afghanistan, is well prepared to stay and deliver humanitarian assistance and support to the Afghan people in a complex, dynamic and challenging security environment.

UNHCR and partners are assisting newly displaced Afghans with emergency shelter, food, health care, water and sanitation support and cash assistance, but a shortage of funding means humanitarian resources are falling dramatically short.

Worsening conflict in northern Afghanistan uproots thousands. A recently displaced child peeks at the camera in the Bricade IDP camp.

© UNHCR/Edris Lutfi

Ali Ahmad sits in front of his home which was knocked over by the strong winds a day before.

© UNHCR/Edris Lutfi

In a looming crisis like this, your support will help us reach many more of the most vulnerable Afghans, at a time when the number of people in need is growing fast and the funding gap to help them is rising even faster.

“The international community is talking about leaving Afghanistan. Surely, the situation is risky and dramatic, but as long and wherever it is possible to stay and help Afghan women and men at their time of greatest need, that should be the priority,” said Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

We will stay and deliver for the Afghan people as long as we have access to populations in need.

Additional international support is critical as these needs continue to grow.

Please donate now and help protect people forced to flee.

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