Afghanistan: Bleak Living Conditions for IDPs In Kabul

The Baghrami market in east Kabul has become a refuge for hundreds of families who fled fighting in Kapisa province to the north


Afghanistan 2010 © Dario Chiappatopi

Living conditions are bleak for Afghans taking refuge in Kabul's Baghrami market.

The blocks of cold cement that make up Baghrami market in east Kabul have become an accidental place of refuge for hundreds of families who had to leave their homes in Kapisa province to the north in order to escape the fighting there. These families arrived in Kabul a few months ago, but they are just the latest of many thousands of people who have arrived in Kabul in the last few years due to the widespread conflict in Afghanistan. Many of them have settled into makeshift dwellings all over the city and are living in bleak conditions.

Besides their clear needs for food, clean water, and medical care, the people huddled in Baghrami market also need help facing the cold Afghan winter. Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has distributed relief items consisting of 3,500 blankets and 700 pieces of plastic sheeting. Also, MSF will work together with SHRDO, an Afghan NGO, to respond to the needs of the people gathered in Baghrami market.

In the upcoming eight weeks, MSF will support one SHRDO medical clinic by providing the training, supplies, and staff needed to boost the provision of free primary health care and medication for the men, women, and children of Baghrami market. Pregnant women and those who need emergency medical attention will be referred to Ahmad Shah Baba District hospital, five kilometers (three miles) from Baghrami market, where MSF has been supporting the provision of free medical care, with a focus on emergency and maternity care, since October 2009.

For its work in Afghanistan, MSF chooses to rely solely on private donations and does not accept funding from any government. MSF currently supports the district hospital of Ahmad Shah Baba in eastern Kabul, and Boost Hospital in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.