Photo: An Afghan boy washed among the ruins of a
WHAT WAR BRINGS: internally displaced people
Every war and occupation brings about human catastrophes, such as lacking basic necessities, poverty, insecurity and massive violence. Often these problems get so bad that people flee their homes, become refugees either inside or outside their own country. Another blog post covered the refugees from
Refugees, whether internal or external to their home countries, face hunger, malnutrition, lack of sanitation, disease, trauma, lack of housing, lack of drinking water, extreme stress that results in mental health problems, lack of employment, disruption in education, and threats to their very survival.
There are a lot of internally displaced Iraqis, just like there are a lot of Iraqis who have fled to foreign countries. The article below claims that there are 2.8 million internally displaced Iraqis, which would be about 10% of the total population. If this were happening in the
Meanwhile, IOM (International Office of Migration) estimates that there are about 2.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq, of whom 1.6 million were displaced since the February 2006 bombing of a Shia shrine north of Baghdad that triggered sectarian violence. Some improvement in the security situation in parts of
It was pointed out in the report below that most internal refugees will return home on their own, if they feel conditions are safe. That is not happening in
Displaced Iraqi women are reluctant to return home, despite relatively improved security in the country and the tough conditions in camps, because of continuing uncertainties, says an NGO advocating for displaced people. “Iraqi women will resist returning home, even if conditions improve in
Internal Iraqi refugees are living in squalor, according to this May 2009 report cited below. One error in the report is the claim of the number of Iraqis who died in the civil war – it was not tens of thousands, it was hundreds of thousands. These people are living in tents, with no running water (it is trucked in), no electricity and a horrible stench hanging over the place. They receive no financial assistance. Jobs are nearly impossible to come by.
Jaffar and 400 other Iraqi Arabs have lived here in a squalid camp, along a road that seems to lead nowhere, since they were driven from their homes in the sectarian bloodshed that plunged the country into chaos in 2006 and 2007. The camp illustrates some of the problems
…… That sense of abandonment, heightened by the sometimes arbitrary realities of geography and politics, courses through the camp.
Some of the Palestinians who lived in
"The situation in
Al-Tanfcamp is located in the "no-man's land" on the border between
The article reports that these refugees may be admitted to the
Some of the internally displaced went to
A total of 16,000 displaced families are currently living in
This poem was written by an Iraqi who was internally displaced. I got a paper copy and retyped it here.
In Search for a Home
Displaced Iraqis – a nuisance over and over….
Will we ever have “homes” again?
A “home” that is safe.
A “home” that has electricity.
A “home that has water.
A “home” that we can live in as normal people live in their homes.
A “home” to come back to after a long day’s work.
A “home” in which a family can sit to have a meal together, listen to music, joke about the day’s events – even to fight our little fights in the privacy of our “homes”.
There is a craving in my heart to have a “home” again – but we are not destined to have homes any more.
Twice displaced because of the violence.
Again displaced because of no water or electricity, and the dangerous proximity of a recruitment and training post for police.
Again and again displaced – and regardless of all displacement we fight the good fight to stay on our feet, to work, to provide, to teach our kids not to hate and do our utmost that they should not fall behind in their studies – to give a semblance of normalcy to their lives that have been torn to shreds….
We try hard…..
We do our best….. but our best is not enough.
Maybe I can find a temporary home in a “safe” neighborhood if only someone would point one out to me. To have found a perch sheltered from the winds of violence for a while was good.
How can I forgive….. How can I forget….
But the journey continues, and my search for a home resumes…..
While all Afghans suffer from the government’s poor capacity and the country’s lack of services, Afghan returnees and internally displaced have been neglected and are particularly vulnerable.
…. Since 2002, in the largest refugee return process ever, over five million Afghans have gone home, the vast majority from neighboring
…..Armed conflict and natural disasters have displaced around 270,000 Afghans, including more than 100,000 in the south where it is most difficult to deliver assistance.
More Afghans have joined these camps because of fighting in their villages which drove them out. They feel they cannot return because of the violence and insecurity.
Democracy Now had a report on
The UN says that 17,000 families, around 75,000 people from Dostum’s region in northern
…. These Pashtun refugees say that Dostum ruled in the north as a warlord, that they were targeted by his Uzbek militia, who saw them both as ethnic enemies and as potential threats to Dostum’s power. They say that his men looted their villages and their livestock, killed his political opponents, and drove them from their land by force.
In the article below, Refugee International details what is happening and what needs to happen. This report is from July 2009.
The UN and donors must increase budgets for humanitarian assistance and support the recently re-established UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). They must address the needs of vulnerable Afghans, including the internally displaced and the returnees, and the UN Development Program must devise a country-wide early recovery strategy. The international community must also look to resolve the root causes of the problems by putting the protection of civilians at the center of its involvement in
The situation for Afghans continues to get worse. Some areas of the country are now ‘no-go’ zones for aid workers. From the same article as above:
Security is only one of many challenges that humanitarians face in
…… Second, dedicated humanitarian funding remains scarce. The humanitarian appeal of $604 million, launched on February 3, 2009, is well funded, but over 52 percent of the appeal addresses food security, and most pledges have gone to the World Food Program’s (WFP) operations. Major humanitarian donors still have very limited budgets compared to the main development players.
… Third, and perhaps most importantly, there is a lack of humanitarian actors in
Political considerations are driving this – not a concern for what is best for the Afghan people.
It was not noted much in the corporate press here in the
The following two articles are about the refugee crisis in Pakistan earlier this year, which is still ongoing, but about 1.6 million have returned home in the last few months (out of a total of 2.7 million who were displaced).
The language was already biblical; now the scale of what is happening matches it. The exodus of people forced from their homes in
…. In these "homestay" situations, some that exist purely because of tribal links between the displaced and those opening their doors, anywhere from 10 to 15 people are crowded into one room. A single latrine is shared by, on average, 35 people. Aid groups have called for a large and immediate injection of funds to help these host families who have stood forward to help those with nothing. Graham Strong, the country director of the charity World Vision, said: "Families have provided refuge for up to 90 per cent of those escaping the fighting. They are sharing their homes, food, clothes and water. They are poor already and are making themselves poorer in the process. As the disaster continues, hosts are having to sell their land, cattle and other assets at far less than the market value to keep providing for their guests. The cultural ethic of generosity and hospitality means hosts are now facing the agonising choice between asking guests to leave and becoming destitute and displaced themselves."
More than two million people who have fled fighting in northwestern
…….Nearly 90 per cent of the displaced people do not have access to organised camps and live in extremely overcrowded conditions with host communities or in existing slums and abandoned buildings. Amnesty International has documented numerous instances of three or four families sharing one household, greatly straining the ability of host communities to provide sufficient food and clean water for everyone.
The UN has distributed aid packages to 600 Afghan refugees who have fled to
"The bombardment in nearby villages reminded me of the conflict in
Since September 1, 2009, there has been another refugee crisis in
“Over 100,000 people have arrived in
….. The army has been battling militants in northwestern
In the article above, the UN noted that the aid money promised to help these refugees has mainly not been collected. A more recent report says that
Now, what DOES that say about the
Well, just from looking at how LITTLE we helped Iraqi and Afghan refugees (either internal or external), I guess the clear answer is that we JUST DON’T GIVE A SHIT.
If you support the continued occupation of
Afghan Refugees get relief, thanks to you….