© UNHCR/Edris Lutfi
Location icon Middle East

UNHCR warns of imminent humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Escalating conflict in Afghanistan brings increased human suffering and civilian displacement.

An estimated 270,000 Afghans have been newly displaced inside the country since January 2021, due to insecurity and violence, and the numbers are growing each day.

Families forced to flee their homes in recent weeks cite the worsening security situation as the predominant reason for their flight.

The number of civilian casualties has risen sharply since January, according to UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, and an increasing proportion of women and children were among those targeted.

Maryam*, a mother-of-four is among the 270,000 Afghans displaced inside the country since the start of the year by the latest upsurge in violence.

Maryam and her family fled 55 kilometres from Sholgara district, to Nawabad Farabi-ha camp, located on the outskirts of Mazar-e Sharif city in northern Afghanistan.

Maryam fled with her four children, parents and brother after opposition forces stormed the area and engaged in running battles with government forces.

Extension Afghanistan Child
Worsening conflict in northern Afghanistan uproots thousands. Zarif, 6, peeks out from his grandmother, Herati’s makeshift tent. His father was killed during the clashes between the government and the non-government armed forces. © UNHCR/Edris Lutfi
© UNHCR/Edris Lutfi
Maryam’s daughters make their way back to their shelter after collecting water in Nawabad Farabi-ha camp in Northern Afghanistan. © UNHCR/Edris Lutfi

Maryam said she heard gunfire breaking out all around their home as the two sides fought for control of the area.

“We had no time to gather anything. We fled with only a blanket,” she said as she sits in a makeshift tent made from cloth and tied to sticks.

While plastic tents are available, the stifling heat renders them unusable, so camp residents have to resort to using basic materials to protect themselves from the scorching sun and dust storms.

Maryam and her mother, Halimah, are both war widows, and carry the additional burden of trying to care for Maryam’s injured brother and chronically ill grandfather.

Following the death of her husband, Maryam moved with her two boys and two girls to Kabul, before eventually reuniting with her family in Sholgara earlier this year.

“At first, things were okay. There was relative calm,” she said. But after the latest violence they now find themselves living in Nawabad Farabi-ha camp along with 100 other families.

“There have been nights when we had nothing at all to eat.”

There are few economic opportunities for internally displaced people (IDPs) in the camp and with both men in the family injured or sick, Maryam’s eldest son is forced to wander the city collecting recyclable trash to try to earn enough to feed the family.

Having been forced to move four times in the span of a few years, her children are unable to attend school and wear worn clothes. The impact that displacement is having on the wellbeing and future of her children is the hardest thing to bear.

“I really just want my children to have a good life and be able to go to school and get an education,” she said.

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.

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.

Please donate now and help protect people forced to flee.

DONATE NOW

*names have been changed for protection purposes.

Related Stories

View all stories
© UNHCR/Edris Lutfi
Location icon
Middle East

UNHCR warns of imminent humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Escalating conflict in Afghanistan brings increased human suffering and civilian displacement.

Afghan refugee girl
Location icon
Middle East

‘Now more than ever, Afghan people need our support’

UNHCR provides critical, life-saving aid to the millions who have been displaced

© UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez
Location icon
Middle East

Cold winter months add to suffering for refugees and displaced people

Conflict and insecurity has forced people from their homes into harsh winter conditions

Our fundraising commitment

The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.

78%
Humanitarian programs
12%
Admin
10%
Funding