Millions of Afghans brace for a harsh winter, the second under Taliban rule, as they grapple with dire economic conditions. Economic decline has forced families into extreme coping mechanisms, leading to a surge in malnutrition and pneumonia. An estimated 28 million Afghans require humanitarian aid, with the severity of the crisis unprecedented. A staggering 6 million people are on the brink of famine. The situation is exacerbated by power outages, lack of warm clothing, and skyrocketing food prices.
Iran and Pakistan's Stance on Afghan Refugees
Iran, home to millions of Afghan refugees, has now prohibited them from residing or traveling to over half of its provinces. This move has led to an increase in deportations and complicated living conditions for Afghans in Iran. Meanwhile, Pakistan has repatriated nearly half a million Afghans, further complicating the matter. The Taliban's edicts and restrictions have particularly worsened the plight of women and girls.
The 'Forever Emergency'
Leonard Zulu, the UN refugee agency representative for Afghanistan, depicts the country as a 'forever emergency' due to funding shortfalls and ongoing Afghan challenges. Besides grappling with the aftermath of the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan is also reeling from natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. The escalating deportations of Afghan refugees from Iran and Pakistan add another layer of complexity to the situation.
Climate Change Impact on Displaced Populations
The UNHCR is calling for immediate and collective action to tackle the unprecedented impact of climate change on displaced populations. Afghanistan, being one of the most vulnerable to climate change, has its displaced communities facing significant challenges in securing safety, essential resources, and sustainable livelihoods. The agency urges for global recognition of the resilience and agency of displaced individuals, and collective commitment to climate action.