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Afghanistan: Saved from war, but not from the winter

Published on Tuesday 18 July 2017

In 2016, some 600,000 Afghans were forcibly displaced from their homes due to conflict according to OCHA, an all-time record. Among them, 29,000 fled their homes in south-eastern Afghanistan, in Paktya, Paktika and Ghazni provinces.

Since the withdrawal of American forces from Paktya province in 2014, violent incidents, including fighting between armed opposition groups and government forces have been on the rise, leading many to seek refuge in neighbouring provinces.

Abdullah and his family

Escaping war… but not winter

Abdullah, 65, fled Paktya with his wife and seven children following conflict between the Taliban and Afghan national forces. Late November and after an 8-hour journey from their home district of Dela, they arrived and settled in Sharana, capital city of the close-by Paktika Province.

When we arrived, we started to live in the open with no shelter”, he recalls. They arrived in the midst of winter, at a time when weather conditions became especially harsh: “Cold weather with heavy snowfalls arrived and took my 18-month son’s life… It was the worst day of my life. I shed tears on his grave but tears did not heal my pain. I saved him from war but could not save him from cold weather.”

Abdullah’s two sons near the family’s tent provided by SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL

Emergency life-saving assistance

After this tragic event affected his family, Abdullah tried to reach out for help to government officials and other people but with no success. A few days later, early February, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL conducted an assessment in this settlement, and identified his family and 98 others as being in dire need for help. “They saw my family’s terrible situation and provided us with a tent, tools and material to build latrines, and cash”, he explains before adding “I spent the money on food, dishes for cooking and other necessary items. I also took one of my daughters to the doctor and bought medicines for her.

“I really thank SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL for their help in the worst time of my life. The presence of such people gives us hope for the future”, Abdullah concluded.

Emergency assistance was provided by SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams to 348 other families in Paktika in the frame of the Emergency Response Mechanism funded by the European Union and aiming at providing life-saving assistance to populations affected by conflict and natural disasters across the entire country.

Since the beginning of year 2017, OCHA reported that 47,400 additional people had to flee their homes due to conflict.

Pictures copyrights: © SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL

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  • 31.3 million inhabitants
  • 35.8% poverty rate
  • 171st out of 188 on the Human Development Index
  • 130,000 people helped