Camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Herat, Afghanistan, have been in existence since the mid-1990s. Because of the long drought that beset Afghanistan, IDPs were flocking to urban areas and it was for those IDPs that the camps were formed. Subsequently, victims of destruction caused by the chronic wars and those who had fled their villages because of ethnic tensions, arrived at the camps. All were poor and most were landless.
In 2002, I coordinated activities within three IDP camps. Our purpose was to enable the IDPs to have a stable and safe environment that provided them life’s basic provisions, while they awaited the time when they could return to their villages of origin.
Surveys were being conducted by international organizations in many of the IDPs villages of origin to determine what was needed to enable returnees to live both peacefully and decently. These surveys investigated the living conditions, security, water availability, land availability, food distribution and other important survival factors. The surveys were not fully completed when I left the camps. Returns, however, were taking place. Rain was falling in many areas, and crops were beginning to flourish again. Read more of this article »
Posted in Afghanistan, Op-Ed