12/02/2016, 18.04
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UN reports more than half a million displaced people in Afghanistan, a record

Since 2014 the number of internally displaced persons has more than doubled, reaching 518,000. Pakistan has sent back more than 600,000 Afghan refugees. UN agency says it has received only 54 per cent of the US$ 152 million in emergency funding.

Kabul (AsiaNews) - The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Afghanistan has more than doubled since 2014, reaching a record high, the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said on Wednesday.

As of 30 November 2016, 515,800 Afghans have been internally displaced by fighting, surpassing the previous record of 471,000 set last year.

More than 600,000 Afghan refugees have also been forced to return to the country from neighbouring Pakistan this year, UNOCHA said.

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the EU Commission for Humanitarian Affairs and UNOCHA, 35,382 newly displaced families were registered between January and September 2016. The UN agency notes that people are moving mostly to less dangerous urban areas, depleting local resources.

According to UN data, a record 198 out of 399 districts of Afghanistan are now reporting conflict-induced displacement, and for the first time, all 34 provinces are hosting IDPs.

UNOCHA said it has received 54 per cent of the US$ 152 million in emergency funding it needs to address the immediate needs of internally displaced people in Afghanistan.

“I am concerned these record figures show not just an alarming number of new IDPs, but a longer term crisis where increasing numbers of families in Afghanistan are facing prolonged displacement,” said Mark Bowden, the UN humanitarian coordinator in a statement.

According to a report released by the UNHCR on this year’s World Refugee Day, Afghanistan along with Syria and Somalia account for 53 per cent of the 65.3 million refugees in the world.

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