As we witness heartbreaking and harrowing scenes in Kabul and across the country, I wanted to let you know that UNHCR has re-affirmed its commitment to staying and delivering lifesaving support to as many displaced people as possible.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has stressed: “…as long and wherever it is possible to stay and help Afghan women and men in their time of greatest need, that should be the priority.”
The situation on the ground remains complex and extremely fluid. As the crisis continues across the country, the number of people displaced this year has quickly risen to 550,000.
“We are getting reports that women who are fleeing are giving birth on the road, without any medical assistance. The information we have now is that women & children are almost 50% of the civilian casualties, people who are killed or injured during this violence.” –@BurenCaroline https://t.co/oc2SLlRpvM
— UK for UNHCR (@UNRefugeesUK) August 16, 2021
In Kabul the sense of fear is palpable. Colleagues in the city are reporting that 120,000 people from surrounding areas have arrived in search of safety.
Many fled with no belongings and are sheltering in public buildings or mosques. With nowhere left to run, a growing number are sleeping out in the open.
Many more are attempting to flee to the capital, but with roadblocks being set-up by armed groups, travel for some is perilous.
Right now, our UNHCR colleagues in Afghanistan are working around the clock alongside partners to urgently rush supplies and support to displaced families, including emergency shelter, food, clean water and medicine.
The situation is changing by the hour, but in the absence of peace and stability, we anticipate the number of displaced people could increase in the coming days. We are continually assessing the situation and will continue to update you as we receive more news from our colleagues on the ground.
Thank you for helping show the people of Afghanistan they are not forgotten.