UN relief unit voices concern over people forced to flee clashes in Kunduz

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UNITED NATIONS, Oct 8 (APP): The UN Office for the Coordination  of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is “deeply concerned” the about large  scale displacements as a result of recent fighting in the Afghan  city of Kunduz as well as the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian  situation for those still trapped in it, a UN spokesman said Friday.

Initial reports suggest up to 10,000 people have fled Kunduz in  recent days, arriving in Kabul, Taloqan and Mazar-i-Sharif, Farhan Haq,  the deputy UN spokesman, told reporters at the regular noon briefing  at UN Headquarters in New York.

“OCHA says many of those families were unable to bring their  possessions with them and are in a precarious situation.”

“Some have been forced to sleep out in the open and many are  without food,” Haq said. “Meanwhile, families trapped in Kunduz are  facing water shortages and power cuts, and are finding it increasingly difficult to find food, fuel or health services.”

“OCHA is working with partners to help the most vulnerable by  coordinating the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” he said.

Sporadic clashes between security forces and Taliban militants resumed  Wednesday in embattled northern Afghan city of Kunduz, causing a devastating impact on civilians who have been left without basic services, food or potable water.

Kunduz was famous as the breadbasket of Afghanistan in the past, before  conflicts and droughts.

Now, most of the residents suffer from shortage of food and water after  fighting broke out. The price of one piece of bread has risen from 10 afghanis to 50 afghanis, reports said.

The Taliban have been on the rampage since mid-April when they launched  their so-called annual spring offensive in different places in Afghanistan, including capital Kabul, killing and injuring hundreds.

More than 1,600 civilians were killed and over 3,560 injured in the  first half of the year as the violence spread in different places of the country, according to a report by the UN mission in Afghanistan released  on July 25.

The clashes in Kunduz came as an international conference was held on  Wednesday in Brussels, Belgium, with development and economy of the war-hit country on top of its agenda.