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Climate change, conflict and internal displacement in Afghanistan: 'We are struggling to survive'

Case/country studies

Written by Kerrie Holloway, Zaki Ullah, Dastgir Ahmadi, Elham Hakimi, Aaftab Ullah

Image credit:Jessica Rennoldson Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Afghanistan faces one of the world’s most complex crises. Recurring cycles of conflict, violence and natural hazard-related disasters – often exacerbated by climate change – interact to create overlapping vulnerabilities and multiple displacements. Forty years of conflict have destroyed transport, water and energy infrastructure, restricted development and increased deforestation across the country.

This paper outlines the overlapping crises that face Afghanistan, how internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Herat City who have been displaced by either conflict or climate change (or both) are coping with and adapting to the ongoing effects of conflict and climate change in displacement and the barriers that prevent aid from reaching them. It is part of a two-year, multi-country research project that seeks to map the strategies urban IDPs use to survive in crises, and to create an entry point for actors at the local, national and international levels to support communities affected by displacement in ways that reflect their experiences, preferences and aspirations. While humanitarian assistance provides a critical lifeline for these groups, the strategies that affected people deploy themselves can be a crucial determinant of their survival and recovery.