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80% of 500,000 displaced persons in Afghanistan are women & kids, says UN Refugee Agency

80% of 500,000 displaced persons in Afghanistan are women and kids, says UN Refugee Agency

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has put the total number of persons displaced in Afghanistan this year at 500,000 out of which 80% are women and children.

While widespread fighting has decreased since the takeover of the country by the Taliban on Sunday, the full impact of the evolving situation is not yet clear. Many Afghans are extremely anxious about what the future holds, the report notes.

The situation on the ground across the country remains extremely fluid, it adds.

Since the beginning of this year, UNHCR has "provided emergency assistance to 230,000 people in Afghanistan, including cash assistance, shelter kits, hygiene support and other essential relief items, its report states.

“Protection monitoring and needs assessments are ongoing for some half a million displaced Afghans, 80 per cent of whom are women and children."

UNHCR calls on donors to "remain steadfast in their support for humanitarian operations in Afghanistan and are also appealing for support,” the report states.

UNHCR’s “supplementary appeal for the Afghanistan situation” highlights US$62.8 million as urgent needs to support the response for internally displaced people in Afghanistan as well as preparedness in Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries."

These requirements are part of the US$351 million requirements for the Afghanistan situation, which remains drastically underfunded at 43 percent, said UNHCR.

Bolstered support for the humanitarian response inside Afghanistan itself is urgently needed to deliver assistance to the Afghan people, including some half a million displaced this year alone, said the UNHCR.

The vast majority of Afghans are not able to leave the country through regular channels, the statement says, adding: "The footage taken a few days ago of crowds at the airport has shocked the world, speaking powerfully to the sense of fear and uncertainty among many Afghans."

UNHCR remains concerned about the risk of human rights violations against civilians in this evolving context, including women and girls. As of today, those who may be in danger have no clear way out.

UNHCR is calling on countries neighbouring Afghanistan to keep their borders open in light of the evolving crisis in Afghanistan.

"Some 200 UNHCR colleagues, both national and international, remain on the ground in Afghanistan as of today. We are continuing to work with 18 local non-government partners with some 900 staff throughout the country. At present, we are able to access all provinces, and are working in some two-thirds of all districts. Together with the wider UN country team, we are committed to staying and delivering aid to the Afghan people for as long as we have access to populations in need and can ensure safety for our staff," the report said.

UNHCR also welcomes the efforts of several states to protect at-risk Afghan nationals through bilateral evacuation programs. These bilateral evacuation programs should not, however, overshadow or substitute for an urgent, and wider international humanitarian response, says UNHCR.