The volatile security situation in northern Shan State, including frequent armed clashes between ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) and fears of forced recruitment, continue to cause people to flee their homes. Around 550 people from two townships in northern Shan State reportedly fled their homes between 12 and 21 June due to insecurity. Some 210 people from Sant Hing and Kant Kan village tracts were displaced to Kant Kan monastery in Kyaukme Township due to active hostilities between the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army and the allied forces of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army. In mid-February, close to 360 people from the area had been displaced and most of them managed to return home by mid-May. Local partners indicated that over 290 people remained displaced in Kant Kan monastery and need immediate assistance, including food and hygiene kits. In Kunlong Township, over 330 people were displaced between 12 and 18 June in fear of forced recruitment. Population movements in Shan State remain fluid, with the displacement of an estimated 18,350 people in total across 14 townships since January 2021, including about 3,640 people still displaced and over 14,700 people who have been able to return.
On 22 June, the Government of Afghanistan officially declared a drought in the country. Little snow pack accumulation over the winter months and low rainfall in recent weeks resulted in drought conditions, low crop yields and rising food prices in the southern, eastern and western parts of the country. In the South, farmers in Kandahar Province are reporting water shortages which are threatening agricultural outputs. In the East, reduced food production is expected to contribute to an already dire food security situation exacerbated by the effects of La Niña and a continued dry spell. In the West, the provinces of Hirat, Badghis and Ghor are facing either extreme or severe drought conditions and humanitarian partners are assisting vulnerable people with food, water, sanitation and hygiene, cash and the rehabilitation of water sources. In the North-East region, drought does not pose an immediate threat at present, but forecasted water shortages may affect 60 per cent of farmers (about 586,000 people) in 12 districts during the upcoming agricultural seasons beginning in September 2021. The declaration of the drought comes at a time when Afghanistan is experiencing a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases and intensifying conflict against the background of ongoing peace talks and the withdrawal of US forces. In total, more than 12 million people – about one third of the population – are facing high levels of acute food insecurity due to high food prices, conflict, COVID-19, and widespread unemployment.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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