Wednesday, Oct 20 2021 | Time 16:07 Hrs(IST)
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World


UNHCR says Afghan conflict taking toll on women, children

UNHCR says Afghan conflict taking toll on  women, children

United Nations/Kabul, Aug 14 (UNI) UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has voiced alarm at the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, especially on the impact of the war on women and children.
“We are particularly worried about the impact of the conflict on women and girls. Some 80 per cent of nearly a quarter of a million Afghans forced to flee since the end of May are women and children,” it said on Friday.
Nearly 4,00,000 were forced from their homes since the beginning of the year, joining 2.9 million Afghans already internally displaced across the country at the end of 2020.
Ongoing fighting has been reported in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, it said.
The overwhelming majority of Afghans forced to flee remain within the country, as close to their homes as fighting will allow. Since the beginning of this year, nearly 1,20,000 Afghans have fled from rural areas and provincial towns to Kabul province.
The UN agency urged the international community to urgently step up its support to respond to the latest Afghanistan displacement crisis.
The UNHCR teams have assessed the needs of almost 4,00,000 internally displaced civilians this year, and are providing food, shelter, hygiene and sanitary kits and other lifesaving assistance, to the displaced people in Afghanistan, together with its partners.
The UN agency urged countries neighbouring Afghanistan to keep their borders open in light of the intensifying crisis in Afghanistan.
“An inability to seek safety may risk innumerable civilian lives. UNHCR stands ready to help national authorities scale up humanitarian responses as needed,” it said.
It said the human toll of the spiraling hostilities is immense. The United Nations Assistance Mission has warned that without a significant de-escalation in violence, Afghanistan is on course to witness the highest ever number of documented civilian casualties in a single year since the UN’s records began.
It also welcomed the actions taken by several countries to temporarily halt deportations of failed asylum-seekers and ensure access to asylum procedures.
The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that the situation in Afghanistan is rapidly "spinning out of control” and asked the Taliban to immediately halt their nationwide offensive, even as the militant group is reported to be just 50 km away from Kabul on Saturday.
Guterres asked the Taliban to immediately return to the peace table and said seizing power through military forces is a losing proposition.
The Taliban on Saturday seized Logar province, just south of Kabul, and launched a multi-pronged assault on Mazar-e-Sharif, a major city in the north.
Since they began their onslaught a few weeks ago, the Taliban have captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan.
UNI RN PS1507

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