UN refugee agency helps IDPs settle-in

8 Jun 2009

UN refugee agency helps IDPs settle-in

KABUL - Nearly 10,000 people who fled fighting and drought conditions eight years ago in the north and west of Afghanistan are heading back home.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is helping the first group of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of 84 families leave the Zari-e-Dasht camp in the southern province of Kandahar for their homes in the northern province of Faryab and western provinces of Badghis and Herat.

UNHCR pays for the transportation of the IDPs up to their final destination and the returning families receive blankets, jerry cans, plastic tarpaulins and soap.

Upon arrival, they will also receive 50 kg of wheat flour per person from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

1,400 families (almost 9,800 individuals) who fled the northern provinces of the country in 2001 after the fall of the Taliban, or because of drought and factional fighting, have registered to return this year.

The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation and UNHCR have been looking for long-term solutions for since IDPs arrived in Kandahar in 2001-2002.

“One of the solutions that we have discussed with the Afghan authorities is the re-integration of IDPs in the areas where they live now. This can be a solution especially for those who came from the southern provinces in 2001 and have been living here (Kandahar) for 8 years,” said Nader Farhad a UNHCR spokesman.

There are an estimated 235,000 internally displaced persons in Afghanistan.

The majority of IDPs have been displaced as result of years of conflict in the country and some have been forced by drought to move.

More than half a million IDPs have returned to their areas of origin since 2002.

By Homayon Khoram, UNAMA.

Website: UNHCR Afghanistan