Refugees from Afghanistan have been fleeing to nearby countries since the Soviet War in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Many of these refugees have been unable to return to Afghanistan because of their vulnerability to the security issues that plague the area.
While many refugees from Afghanistan reside in Pakistan or Iran, the prospects for local integration are unfortunately low, as they have little to no access to legal status services. This is just one of many obstacles that refugees face, so here are 10 facts that illuminate the struggles of refugees from Afghanistan:
- Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria contribute more than half of all refugees in the world.
- Aside from refugees displaced outside of Afghanistan, there are approximately one million people who are internally displaced as well.
- Iran and Pakistan are home to the largest Afghan refugee population, according to the UNHCR’s mandate. Iran hosts nearly 900,000 refugees, while Pakistan hosts over 1.5 million.
- The majority of these refugees from Afghanistan live on the average wage of less than $2 per day, which can buy little more than ten pieces of bread.
- The UNHCR distributes food to many refugees outside of Kabul, while the World Food Programme sends electronic food vouchers to approximately 4,500 displaced families inside Kabul.
- There are over 3.5 million people living in camps just outside of Kabul, which consist of little more than mud huts and run-down tents.
- Many NGOs have built schools and clinics in these camps to assist the refugees when their government does not.
- Between 2002 and 2012, UNHCR created the largest voluntary repatriation program that helped 3.8 million refugees from Afghanistan return back to their home out of Pakistan.
- Since 2002, over 5.7 million refugees have been able to return to Afghanistan.
- When some refugees cannot return, the Refugee Contact Croup on Iran has worked with the Iranian government to help refugees become resettled in their new homes.
There are many misconceptions surrounding refugees from Afghanistan. Refugees encounter many struggles while fleeing from insecure areas. However, the assistance of NGOs and local communities can ease their worries and help them to acclimate to their new lives or return to their home countries.
– Amanda Panella