IOM expands humanitarian and protection assistance in Afghanistan

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is expanding its aid activities across Afghanistan in response to rising, complex humanitarian needs exacerbated by drought and violence, while also re-engaging established livelihood, community development, and infrastructure initiatives.

IOM’s humanitarian response includes frontline emergency shelter for vulnerable internally displaced persons (IDPs), protection services such as family reunification, and health services provided by clinics and mobile teams who go out into communities to provide primary and reproductive healthcare, mental health services, and COVID-19 Rapid Response.

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IOM is collaborating with its partners across the nation to ensure that joint assessments and vital aid distribution continue for vulnerable populations, including more than 5.5 million internally displaced people.

“It is critical to ensure the continuity of humanitarian operations for the millions of Afghans affected by conflict, COVID-19, and natural disasters such as drought, especially as winter approaches,” said Stuart Simpson, Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration in Afghanistan.

“As part of our commitment to remain in Afghanistan, we continue to urge for unrestricted access to all individuals affected, including our female colleagues, and many of them are resorting to desperate methods like as borrowing money and selling their belongings just to feed their families.”

A contact center supporting the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), which tracks population displacement, is gathering the most up-to-date information on persons displaced by drought and violence.

The extent to which ordinary Afghans are struggling to cope is revealed by data collected from recent interviews with more than 500 people in nine provinces: 85% report borrowing food or relying on friends and family, while significant numbers of adults (29%) go hungry so their children can eat; 65% borrow money, while 43% sell land to feed their families.

This month, IOM delivered emergency shelter and essential relief goods to almost 5,000 people in Kabul, Ghazni, and other regions, including blankets, cooking sets, and building tools. Basic health care, including psychosocial and reproductive health treatments, reached almost 2,500 people in Herat, Kandahar, and Nimroz provinces in the first week of September alone.

Food, currency, and drinking water, as well as medical care, are top needs for the over 600,000 Afghans who have been displaced since the beginning of the year, according to IOM’s expanding assessments.

IOM has restarted community development initiatives in six provinces, constructing school buildings and irrigation and other water delivery infrastructure to offset the effects of drought. Long-term investments in small business startups are still being made.

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