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Afghanistan: People with disabilities and vulnerable people are the hardest hit

Press Release | London, 10th February 2022, 12:00 GMT

For the last six months, the humanitarian situation has drastically deteriorated in Afghanistan. 24.4 million people – 55% of the population - need humanitarian assistance (compared to 21 million in 2021 and 8 million in 2020). People with disabilities and vulnerable people are the hardest hit by the current crisis in Afghanistan where almost 80% of the adult population lives with some form of disability.  Humanity & Inclusion’s teams are seeing an increasing number of patients in their rehabilitation centre in Kandahar. It is vital to ensure access to humanitarian aid and rehabilitation care for Afghan people who desperately need it. Humanity & Inclusion is one of the few organisations to provide this type of care in Afghanistan.   

People of Afghanistan are facing multiple crosscutting crises: conflict, economic collapse, lingering effects of drought and COVID-19. Since the political takeover last August, basic services have collapsed and development aid has frozen, putting the population at risk of a humanitarian catastrophe. 

Humanity & Inclusion teams in Afghanistan are providing life-changing rehabilitation and psychosocial support in one of the only two rehabilitation centres in the south of the country ( Kandahar). Most of our patients are people impacted by the conflict. "Afghanistan is a country scarred by decades of conflict and the population suffers constant shortages and a lack of basic services. Health care and hospital facilities need to be supported. We must ensure vulnerable people receive the care they need. If someone with disabilities, or an injured person is no longer able to receive treatment at a health centre, they become even more vulnerable. For the last months, we have increased our rehabilitation services to face an increasing number of patients," says Julio Cesar Ortiz Arguedas, Humanity & Inclusion’s director in Afghanistan.  

Afghanistan has one of the highest levels of explosive hazard contamination in the world. “The rehabilitation needs are immense. People come to the centre every day, sometimes from very far away” says Mohammad Rasool, Humanity & inclusion’s programs coordinator, based in Kandahar. “Based on our data from the centre, the majority of the people have acquired disabilities following contact with explosives, landmines and other remnants of war. In Afghanistan, the prevalence of disability is very high: 80% of the Afghan population has some form of disability due to the presence of mines, explosive remnants of war, armed conflicts and limited access to health and nutrition services.” says Mohammad.  

Humanity & Inclusion's staff supporting Suliman,12, injured by an explosive device when he was only 6 - © HI

More and more people, particularly in urban areas, cannot buy food due to cash shortage and soaring prices, unemployment rise and unpaid salaries, which are the main driven of the current crisis. Currently, 1 in 3 people are hungry (WFP) and more than one in two children under-five are expecting to face acute malnutrition. By the middle of 2022, Afghanistan could face “universal poverty,” with 90% of Afghan people living below the poverty line ($1.90 a day - UN).  

About Humanity & Inclusion’s actions in Afghanistan: 

Humanity & Inclusion has worked in Afghanistan since 1987 and has developed a special expertise in this country where we strive to improve the daily lives of people with disabilities.  
Humanity & Inclusion set up the Kandahar centre in 1996 and has supported it continuously ever since. It is one of the only two rehabilitation centres in the south of the country. Humanity & Inclusion’s mobile teams also visit homes in isolated rural areas with no access to health facilities. Humanity & Inclusion also provides psychosocial support to people in need, victim assistance, mine risk education, and assists people affected by Covid-19. 


Notes

- Interview available upon request with Humanity & Inclusion's experts based in Afghanistan

- Possibility of organising a visit to our projects in Kandahar

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Marlene Manning, Media Officer
Email: media.uk@hi.org
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