Charity No. 1130232
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IDPs – Homeless in their own Countries

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An estimated 55 million people are homeless in their own countries. These people are called IDPs – internally displaced people because they’ve been forced to leave their homes and relocate to other areas within their national borders. Political instability, social and environmental events, conflicts, or natural disasters have made their homes and the areas they live in, unsafe. They’ve had no choice but to flee to survive. 

55 million people, in 120 countries – that’s the highest number recorded in history! Why is this happening, and what is the reality these people face?

The Treacherous Journey

Whatever the reason for displacement, the result is the same. IDPs are forced to leave very quickly, sometimes immediately or overnight, with little preparation or provisions for the trip. They lose their homes and leave behind whatever belongings or property they have. When they set out, they are fearful about where they are going, and what they will encounter along the way. But they are in ‘flight’ mode; fleeing to survive. In that state of panic, they rarely have any thoughts about the future. 

We can’t imagine what the journey must be like. But we know that when they arrive, IDPs are exhausted and traumatised. They tell us the routes were dangerous, and they had little rest, food or water along the way. Many have been separated from their families and endured attacks and other hazards on route. Some lost loved ones and carry the pain of those who didn’t make it with them. IDPs are also anxious. Anxious about the people they’ve left behind. Anxious about how they’re going to care for themselves and their children in a strange place that offers little hope.

The Impact of Displacement

Starting over is never easy, especially in a new place with no means of earning – very few, if any, find jobs. The majority end up in crowded refugee camps – where facilities and resources are limited. They become reliant on aid from governments or aid organisations. 

The impact on children is most severe. Almost half of the IDPs (23 million) are under the age of 18. Displacement traumatises them as they cannot always understand the reasons for this sudden change, and they have no control over what is happening. Often, they’ve lost parents, with some even witnessing their deaths. The displacement also negatively impacts their education, which is abruptly halted. With insufficient resources and schooling facilities to accommodate them at the refugee camps or new areas they move to, they often remain out of school for long periods. 

The national economy also suffers. Because when displaced people lose their livelihoods, they become dependent on help. Governments and organisations have to find resources to provide for the daily living needs of these desperate people. Local resources are stretched to capacity and host communities bear the brunt of this. At an estimated cost of over US$20 billion annually, the reality is that these needs can never be met. While the displaced people suffer, so do their hosts in trying to assist and meet their needs. 

Our work with IDPs in Afghanistan

At Aryana Aid, we provide humanitarian aid in war-torn Afghanistan, where in the past year alone, as many as 250,000 people have been internally displaced. 

Internal displacements in Afghanistan began on a large scale soon after 2010. 

Currently, there are approximately 4.6 million IDPs in the country. The majority, 3.1 million (68%), have moved because of the conflict, while about 1.1 million (32%) have moved because of natural disasters. 19% of all displaced people end up in the capital city of Kabul. The rest end up in other areas or cities in their provinces (or neighbouring provinces) taxing the local infrastructure which cannot cope. 

Most of the IDPs we support are vulnerable women and children. The cities they end up in, including Kabul, are already heavily populated and poorly serviced. Most of these people are forced to live on the streets, trying to make sense of their new reality, while coming to grips with their trauma. Everyday life is a struggle – food prices have sky-rocketed and without any income, they are forced to beg or resort to other desperate measures to survive.

We provide IDPs in Kabul (and other areas where people have been displaced) with essential aid: food, water, shelter and medical assistance. We believe that with support, forcibly displaced people can eventually thrive and even come to contribute to the new areas they move to. But first, they have to survive. 

To date, we’ve provided 6,000 people in Afghanistan with medical care and a hundred families with refuge. People who’ve been assisted in this way have the potential to return to some sense of normality – stability means they can try and earn an income and their children can return to school in many instances. We’ve seen the positive impact of our interventions and are committed to supporting IDPs in this war-torn country. 

Want to help? Read more about our IDP Emergency Appeal and find out how you can support our work. 


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We work with the local Afghan community to deliver emergency aid and long term sustainability through our orphan sponsorship, widow skills training, and water and electricity projects.
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