Source: United Nations 2
Thousands of people have been displaced and critical health services interrupted, after fighting erupted on 11 October in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, the UN humanitarian office has reported.
There are also reports that 200 people have been killed or injured.
According to a flash update issued on Tuesday by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), several districts of Helmand, including areas near provincial capital Lashkargah, and parts of neighbouring Kandahar province have been affected.
The highway between Lashkargah and Kandahar – Afghanistan’s second largest city – has been inaccessible due to the presence of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the update added.
Challenges assessing the situation
Since Monday, two humanitarian teams have been working in areas of displacement to assess needs and have so far verified about 500 internally displaced persons, some of whom may require immediate food, water and temporary spaces for living.
Local authorities have reported that as many as 35,000 people – some 5,000 households – may have been displaced, while health facilities reported hundreds of casualties.
However, verifying the figures and assessing the situation have been complicated due to disruptions of electricity and telecommunication links in affected areas.
To respond, humanitarian actors are procuring food and non-food items, while health partners have trauma kits able to serve up to 10,000 people for three months, to address trauma needs, said the flash update.
Other partners are mobilising internal resource and response capacity to meet new needs created by these clashes and overcome technical and access related challenges delaying needs assessments, it added.