• Conflict forces thousands more to flee their homes

Conflict forces thousands more to flee their homes

13 August 2013

The United Nations says that the number of Afghans displaced by war rose by 59,000 in the first six months of this year.

The figures are contained in the latest Humanitarian Bulletin of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

OCHA says this brings the number of people displaced inside Afghanistan to 574,000.

The largest displacement – 32,000  people – took place in May.  The majority of  them came from five districts in the southern province of Helmand.  Most of Afghanistan’s displaced are in the south of the country.  

OCHA says that around 40 per cent cite armed conflict or hostilities as the reason for leaving their homes.  Others cite a general deterioration in security, or threats and harassment.

The UN says that active hostilities, particularly in rural areas, are hampering civilians’ access to health services and schools.  The conflict is also  preventing humanitarian agencies from reaching the displaced. 

The OCHA bulletin adds “More and more people are moving to urban areas in order to escape conflict and access services. Services, housing and employment opportunities in the urban areas are frequently inadequate and overstretched.”

The number of people displaced inside Afghanistan has risen dramatically over the past three years.  The UN says that figure is likely to rise further as Afghanistan's security, political and economic transition progresses.