In response to the recent dramatic increase of Afghans returning home from neighbouring countries, as well as record levels of internal displacement, IOM is launching a new displacement tracking system in Afghanistan to better understand population movements and needs.
The sudden return of more than 600,000 registered refugees and undocumented Afghans from Pakistan, coupled with the conflict-induced displacement of over 623,000 people in 2016, could induce a severe humanitarian crisis. In 2017, a further 1 million Afghans are expected to return from Pakistan and an additional 450,000 people are expected to become internally displaced due to the ongoing conflict. Large-scale returns and intensified conflict, combined with rapid urbanization, have intensified the strain on already overstretched local services.
Further compounding concerns is a lack of clear information on the location and needs of people who have returned from outside Afghanistan or those who have been forced to leave their homes.
“There is an urgent need to know where people in vulnerable situations are living and what their needs are,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission Laurence Hart. “With a system in place to clearly track these concerns, humanitarian actors and the Government of Afghanistan can deliver assistance and services to the families and communities that need it most.”
Drawing on over a decade of experience in tracking vulnerable populations and helping ensure the targeted delivery of aid in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and other countries facing both conflict and natural disasters, IOM will launch the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in Afghanistan next week.
The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) is a system that utilizes a variety of tools and processes to track and monitor population movement during crises. It regularly and systematically captures, processes and disseminates information to provide a better understanding of the movements and evolving needs of vulnerable populations, whether on site or en-route.
The first phase of the DTM in Afghanistan will put a framework in place to track various at risk populations in Nangarhar, Laghman and Kunar provinces. A two-day training on the DTM for provincial team leaders and district focal points from these areas kicked off in Jalalabad on Tuesday, 24 January.
IOM staff working in these provinces will consult with community leaders and elders, national and local authorities and previous registrations and assessments. They will also conduct visits in person to form a comprehensive picture of the estimated number of returnees from abroad, internal movements and needs and conditions at the village, district and provincial levels.
“While there is good tracking along the borders, there is little knowledge of the actual final destinations, the villages and neighbourhoods, where people are arriving,” said IOM Human Mobility Tracking Expert Vlatko Avramovski. “The DTM will deliver this information regularly and accurately.”
Data collected under the DTM will be processed, consolidated and shared on a consistent basis with the Government of Afghanistan and other humanitarian actors to flag urgent concerns, facilitate the delivery of assistance and help plan for durable solutions.