Fighting and a flood force thousands to flee their villages in the volatile southern Afghan province
13 AUGUST 2013 | HELMAND, AFGHANISTAN
Bashar fled his village in the east of volatile Helmand province after two of his sons were killed in the fighting. Like thousands of other people, the 70-year-old farmer and his family headed to the provincial capital Lashkargah. There, they received help from the World Food Progam (WFP), USAID and other agencies. But Bashar worries about feeding his wife and 13 children. “I have a large family. This food will last us only a short time. We have nothing,” he says.
His situation is desperate because of the loss of his farm. “We had our own house in our village and we were working on our land. Here, in a city like Lashkargah, it’s very difficult to find daily work,” he says.
It is a familiar story. According to an assessment by the WFP and other UN agencies, along with the Provincial National Disaster Management Authority and the Afghan government’s local Department of Refugees and Repatriation, more than 1,600 families have taken refuge in Lashkargah. Others have gone further afield, to larger cities such as Kabul, Kandahar and Herat, where they live in temporary camps, sometimes for years.
The assessment found that the majority of refugees in Lashkargah had fled their villages on account of the conflict, roughly 200 families had left because of a flood and a few had been forced to return from Iran.
Generous contributions from the US government and the Netherlands made it possible for WFP to give each displaced family a ration of wheat, vegetable oil, pulses and salt. Emergency supplies such as tarpaulins, blankets, water containers and pots and pans were also made available.
Last updated: January 16, 2015