Winter to multiply displaced Shinwari families’ woes

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Provincial council members on Wednesday said harsh winter would bring more woes to families displaced by the ongoing conflict in Shinwari zone of eastern Nangarhar province.
About 13,000 families have been displaced as a result of infighting between rival militant groups and their clashes with security forces in the zone encompassing three districts.
These families are now living in houses of their relatives and in temporary shelters that can provide scant protection from the cold. Almost all these families need assistance.
A member of the provincial council said they were concerned the absence of aid would create further problems for the displaced families, particularly ailing individuals.
The council chief, Ahmad Ali Hazrat, told Pajhwok Afghan News most of the displaced families lived in dire conditions.
“The temperatures are plummeting. Besides other problems these families are in desperate economic straits, they need money. I fear they may join Taliban or Daesh militant group.”
He said the provincial government had assisted about 5,000 families, but the aid seemed to be insufficient.
Ajmal Omar, the council secretary, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “Government assistance has reached some families, but the assistance is inadequate as all the families need assistance.
Omar said they had shared their concerns with the provincial government which was also trying to assist the displaced people.
“The problem is these families either live with their relatives or have moved away to other areas. Some families are surveyed, but others remain. They don’t live in one area otherwise it would have been easy to reach them with assistance.”
He said in some areas, many families shared one house. Their women and children were living inside and men outside of the home, he said. “It is itself a huge problem and the harsh winter will further increase their problems.”
Another member of the provincial council, Zabihulah Zamarai, held similar views. He asked the government to assist the families as soon as possible.
He said the displaced families should have been housed in camps in order to facilitate their survey and the provision of assistance.
Nangarhar Red Crescent Society chief Nangyalai Yousafzai, also a member of the emergency committee for the displaced families, told Pajhwok Afghan News another 1000 families had newly been displaced as a result of the conflict in Achin district.
“They are displaced but not worried. We have provided assistance to the majority of these families and the rest will be assisted soon. “
Yousafzai said a meeting this week at the governor’s house reviewed the situation of the displaced families and directed the departments concerned to provide needed relief items to them. However, he did not mention possible problems with the advent of winter.
The provincial council members believed if the displaced families were housed in camps, it could result into land-grabbing.
Nangarhar Refugee and Repatriation Director Ghulam Haider Faqiri had earlier told Pajhwok Afghan News that nearly 12,000 families were displaced by the conflict in Shinwari zone and half of them had been assisted.
He had said a survey was underway to assist the remaining families and the relief distribution process would resume soon.
Mohammad Sadiq, who has migrated from Shandali area of Achin district to Jalalabad, the provincial capital, said they had been awaiting aid since arriving in Khalis Baba area. He said they left behind everything and only rescued their lives.
Over the past six months, clashes between Taliban and Islamic State militants have been ongoing in the Shinwari zone amid sporadic clashes between security forces and Daesh militants.
The conflict has displaced hundreds of families, with some moving to relatively stable areas within the zone and others to Ghanikhel, Kot, Batikot and other districts.


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