A refugee town crying for attention
PUL-I-ALAM (PAN): Inmates of a township for refugees in central Logar province on Friday said they were forced to leave the settlement due to the continued absence of basic facilities.
Land plots were allotted to 2,755 families in the township after it was inaugurated in 195. However, a large number of households left the housing scheme for lack of water supply and health services.
With their children being taught under tents, residents complained they had no access to clean drinking water and health clinics. As a result, only 660 families currently live in the township.
“We returned to the country in the hope of having our own home. But there is no one to address our problems here,” remarked Haji Ashur, the Refugees’ Council head.
Another dweller, Gul Agha, had a similar tale to tell. He said they had repeatedly shared their problems with the authorities over the past few years. However, he added, their grouses had fallen on deaf years.
Agha said their children had to travel daily a distance of 15 kilometres to go to school and the dilapidated road leading from Pul-i-Alam to the township exacerbated their plight.
On the other hand, Director of Refugee Affairs Noor Ahmad Salehi told Pajhwok Afghan News they could offer only plots and building materials to new returnees.
Other provincial departments, such as health, public works, education and rural development, were also duty-bound to provide the refugees the required services, the official argued.
Salehi said they had requested the UNHCR and government entities to help supply water to the township. His department’s plan to distribute another 2,000 plots was stymied by land mafia, the director alleged.
Provincial council chief, Dr. Abdul Wakil, also confirmed the hardships facing the refugees’ township. He blamed the relevant departments for failing to address the problems.
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