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Afghanistan’s Refugees: In Their Own Words

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International Medical Corps' Photo


Sedamin - Returnee Refugee Camp Near Jalabad, Afghanistan

"We are originally from Shegla in Kunar Province. Twenty-eight years ago we left for Pakistan because of the Russian invasion. Russians invaded the area where we came from in Shegal and many people were killed. Four people in our family died - my parents, my uncle and his wife. All were killed by Russian bombs. We were not alone - everybody lost family members and property during these attacks. “

Sedamin told us that the level of violence forced him and his wife to leave for Pakistan. His family settled in a Pakistani refugee camp – and have been there, unexpectedly, for 20 years. With his wife, Gulmana, they raised their children: six daughters and three sons. Just before the fall of the Taliban, they made the difficult decision to return home to Afghanistan, to try and rebuild. Little did they know, there were no jobs, and the security situation had deteriorated even further. After years as refugees in Pakistan, they became internally displaced people (IDPs) in Afghanistan.
“All of our children are here with us: six daughters, three sons, and my wife, Gulmana. My brother, his wife and children have all come too, so there are now over twenty of us living in these small shelters. Since we arrived in Woch Tangai last year, we have received no assistance other than the free medical care International Medical Corps provides at the clinic. Without this I don't know what we would do. This morning my wife brought our only little grandchild to be treated for an illness, and awhile back the doctor there also treated me for a chest infection. I wouldn't have been able to afford paying for transport to Jalalabad and medical care. … I thought our family would be able to settle in our old community and I would be able to start work again…

Why is World Refugee Day important?

According to the UN Refugee Agency there are more than 45.2 million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) worldwide. Often uprooted with little or no warning, these refugees and IDPs are forced to flee danger with little more than the clothes on their backs. Unable to return home, their only alternative is to rebuild their lives in makeshift camps or overcrowded urban areas where food, clean water and medicine are often scarce. Forced to start again in such harsh conditions with few possessions, little money and no job leave refugees susceptible to poverty, disease and malnutrition.
In our commitment to serve the most vulnerable, International Medical Corps protects the health and well-being of some of the world’s largest IDP, refugee, and host populations. By sharing this page with your friends and family or making a contribution to our programs, you enable us to continue our work in the most difficult environments to ensure the displaced have what they need to survive and rebuild their lives.

Where does International Medical Corps work?

International Medical Corps has provided its lifesaving care in nearly 70 countries worldwide. Over the years, International Medical Corps has responded to the world’s most devastating man-made and natural disasters, in countries like Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda, Japan, Haiti, South Sudan and Iraq.

Who is International Medical Corps?

International Medical Corps is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering by delivering humanitarian assistance, healthcare and training to communities affected by disasters, conflict and poverty. Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, International Medical improves the quality of life by quickly responding to emergencies and then staying on the ground to teach lifesaving skills to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers in underserved communities worldwide. In 2012 alone, we provided more than 3 million patient consultations, enrolled more than 400,000 people in nutrition programs and distributed close to 60,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets.



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