ERC witnesses appalling conditions in Kabul informal settlements


(Kabul/ New York, 9 May 2012) On day two of her four-day mission to Afghanistan, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, visited an informal settlement in Kabul.

During her visit to Parwan Se settlement in Kabul City, Ms. Amos met with some of the 80 families living in the settlement and witnessed first-hand the many hardships of living in lean-to shanties, with little access to water and sanitation, basic hygiene, health, education, and access to regular income.

While this community does receive some support from government-run medical facilities and international NGOs such as Solidarités and Welthungerhilfe, this does little to address the underlying issue of displacement that forces families into such circumstances. “I was appalled by what I saw today and in particular the unacceptable conditions families are forced to endure in the heart of the capital city - women and children in particular,” said Ms. Amos.

“More than a third of Afghanistan’s population has personal experience of displacement. The reasons are many. There are those that are internally displaced due to conflict, recurrent natural hazards and lack of economic opportunity,” she stated after talking to representatives of affected communities. “Displacement affects almost every urban and rural centre in Afghanistan, not just Kabul,” she added.

Since 2002, 5.7 million Afghan refugees have returned with mixed reintegration results. A further 5 million documented and undocumented Afghans continue to reside in Iran and Pakistan. Almost 500,000 Afghans are internally displaced as a result of conflict and natural hazards, 185,000 of which were recorded in 2011 alone.

After the visit, the ERC emphasized that effective relief and durable solutions are urgently needed. “I welcome the Government’s commitment to durable solutions for refugees and IDPs. Meanwhile, we must continue to make every effort to ensure a dignified existence for all communities in need,” Ms. Amos said.

Aidan O’Leary,Head of Office, OCHA Afghanistan, +93 79 300 11 01;
Christophe Verhellen, Public Information Officer, OCHA Afghanistan, +93 79 300 11 32

For further information, please call:
Clare Doyle, OCHA New York,, Tel. +1 212 963 5009, Cell +1 646 288 6331


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit