Figures from the provincial office of refugees and repatriation reveal that more than 20,000 families, displaced primarily by armed conflict, have gathered in the northern province of Balkh over the past two years, and few of them have been helped.
The displaced families left their homes in Balkh’s neighboring provinces of Jawzjan, Samangan, Sar-e-Pul and Faryab due to armed clashes and lack of security, according to officials, who said at least 4,000 of the families are living in tents in Mazar-e-Sharif, the center of Balkh.
“Balkh has more than 20,000 displaced families,” the provincial director of refugees and repatriation, Massoud Qaderi, said. “We were able to help a large number of them last year by providing food, winter facilities and cash money.”
Qaderi said that a program providing cash assistance to 400 displaced families is being implemented.
“At least 4,000 of these families are living in tents. We have coordinated with non-government organizations to help these families with $200 to $300 to fight the cold weather,” said Hamidullah, head of the natural disasters management office in Balkh.
Shamsullah, whose legs were wounded in a conflict between security forces and the Taliban, said his family left Samangan three months ago and they are in dire need of help.
“Winter has made life difficult for us. We have nothing. We don’t have wood, or a heater, or food,” he said.
“We don’t have food to eat and wood to warm our places. We have not been helped and we need help,” said Zaman, a displaced person.
Two other displaced persons, Hamida and Khal Bibi, who left their homes in Jawzjan and Faryab provinces, respectively, said they lost “everything” in the conflict.
“They killed my parents. My brother was also killed. I have children but I don’t have anything to eat,” Khal Bibi said.
“My husband and son-in-law were martyred in the fighting. I have seven children. We could not live there and therefore we left,” Hamida said.