By Dimeji Akinloye
Internally displaced woman in her temporary shelter in an informal settlement on the outskirts of Herat city, Afghanistan. (Photo: Kennet Havgaard/NRC)
Ongoing conflict across different parts of Afghanistan forced over 623,000 people to leave their homes in 2016, according to a UN report published on Tuesday, January 10.
At the beginning of 2016, the UN had only expected 250,000 people to be internally displaced in the war-torn country.
However, the number rose dramatically as intense fighting in several parts of Afghanistan continued throughout the year.
Over 40,000 people were newly registered as displaced in the three weeks since the UN reported that there were 580,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) on Dec. 18.
The report said the number of those displaced by conflict were “the highest number recorded.”
It added that the total number of displaced people in 2016 will continue to rise over the next few weeks as assessments of existing IDPs caseloads are carried out throughout the country.
Adding to the chaos, about one million registered refugees and undocumented Afghans were forced to return from Iran and Pakistan in 2016.
Meanwhile, this has posed a challenge for the Afghan government and aid agencies alike to assist all those displaced and returned.
According to the recently published UN Humanitarian Needs Overview, over 9 million people are in need of assistance an increase of 13 per cent over 2015.
Humanitarian helpers warned of deadly consequences for hundreds of thousands of people who have no shelter and little food during the winter.