Crisis in Afghanistan: helping some of the most vulnerable older people
Published on 02 December 2021 04:35 PM
We are extremely concerned about the situation in Afghanistan which has forced millions to leave their homes in search of safety, food and water. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Afghanistan’s latest tracking report, there has been a sudden increase in internal displacement and population movements following episodes of drought and rapid political changes.
The report explains that millions of people, including older people, are facing a humanitarian crisis and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including food, drinking water and immediate healthcare.
Impact on older people
Our experience and research show that this crisis will already be having a disproportionate impact on older people. They often face difficulty fleeing conflict, leaving behind medication or walking aids while attempting to escape. Without access to healthcare existing health conditions can worsen, they can get separated from their families, and in some cases are left behind. Older people are not included in data collection, so we sometimes do not know how many older people have been affected and what their needs are.
Our report If not now, when?, written in partnership with HelpAge International, highlights the failure of the humanitarian sector for not addressing the needs of older people in emergencies. The impact of humanitarian crises on older people can be devastating, particularly when essential services are unavailable to them. The findings of our assessments are clear: older people’s basic needs are often unmet, and their rights denied.
We are currently exploring our best response options to this crisis and how we can give older people the support they need at this difficult time.