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Afghanistan: the humanitarian situation in the country keeps on deteriorating

Press Release | London, 28th July 2021, 12:00 GMT

US and NATO have begun withdrawing their troops from Afghanistan under the terms of a 2020 peace deal agreed between the US and the Taliban. As a result, the Taliban have taken over a series of Afghan districts. The country’s political situation has deteriorated and fighting, violence, forced displacement and casualties have increased dramatically. According to the United Nations, the number of people who need humanitarian assistance has more than doubled in one year, from 8 million in 2020 to 17 million in 2021 and Humanity & Inclusion’s teams are witnessing this increase on the ground.

Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Afghanistan since 1987 supporting the most vulnerable people in Afghanistan, including people with disabilities, older people, women and children. The organisation is a key actor in the country by providing rehabilitation and psychosocial support to the country’s most vulnerable people. In 2020, the organisation provided more than 17,000 people with rehabilitation care and more than 6,000 people with psychosocial support. Our local teams continue to assist the most vulnerable people, because it is vital people receive treatment for their injuries.

"Afghanistan is a country scarred by decades of conflict and the population suffers constant shortages and a lack of basic services. Healthcare and hospital facilities have improved significantly over the past 15 years, but the system remains highly precarious and is likely to be rapidly and drastically weakened by the unstable political and security situation. There is also a shortage of trained staff. The departure of Western troops will disrupt the extremely precarious balance, which we obviously find very concerning, and we have already seen an increase in humanitarian needs," says Julio Cesar Ortiz Arguedas, Humanity & Inclusion's director in Afghanistan.

This disastrous situation puts the most vulnerable people at even greater risk. People with disabilities, older people, women, and people injured may find it even more difficult to access appropriate assistance. As a result of armed conflict, organisations supplying humanitarian aid risk losing access to some areas. In the wake of significant population displacement, it is more difficult for many people to access health care, rehabilitation and other services, both in their area of origin and in their area of displacement, where the mass arrival of populations can lead to overcrowding.

"As the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance increases, it is vital to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable people are taken into account. If someone with disabilities is unable to travel for work, medical treatment or food, or an injured person is no longer able to receive treatment at a health centre, they become even more vulnerable," says Julio. “As instability spreads across the country, we must ensure vulnerable people receive the care they need. We are making every effort to continue our actions so beneficiaries can still access rehabilitation care. In conflict situations, it is even more important to provide people with psychosocial support to help alleviate psychological distress.”

Afghanistan is one of the countries most heavily contaminated with explosive remnants of war in the world. In 2019, the vast majority of new mine and ERW casualties (more than 1,500 according to the 2020 Landmine Monitor) were in Afghanistan.

"The upsurge in fighting is likely to result in new civilian casualties and a rise in the number of explosive remnants of war, which represent medium- to long-term traps for civilians. It is more vital than ever to continue implementing our risk prevention activities," says Julio. “Because sadly we know civilians are the main victims of these explosive remnants, which remain on the ground, even after the combatants have left.”

 

About Humanity & Inclusion’s work in Afghanistan:

Humanity & Inclusion is an independent and impartial international aid organisation that works in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. Our organisation 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.
Since 1993, Humanity & Inclusion has set up and supported the Kandahar Rehabilitation Centre, the only rehabilitation centre in the south of the country, where it continues to provide rehabilitation care. In addition, the organisation’s mobile teams visit homes in areas with no access to health facilities. Humanity & Inclusion also provides psychosocial support to people in need, victim assistance, mine risk education, and support to people affected by Covid-19.

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