Copernicus satellite imagery monitors internal displacement in Afghanistan

Copernicus satellite imagery monitors internal displacement in Afghanistan

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Protracted conflicts lead to widespread devastation and displacement of people from their town and cities. Internal displacement of hapless people is a common feature of all conflict zones.

Copernicus Emergency Mapping Services has extensively mapped internal displacement in Afghanistan, particularly in Herat, which is Afghanistan’s 3rd largest city. Herat, a city in western Afghanistan, is the current destination for a large number of Internally Displaced People (IDP) who are being forced to fleeĀ from their homes.

Afghanistan is at the crossroad of Central Asia and since decades is a raging flashpoint of turbulence, chaos, conflict and instability. A semblance of institutional stability and peace has been restored in the war-torn nation in the past few years due to the efforts of international organizations and the government, but the country still reels from acute issues including poverty and homelessness which are compounded by droughts and other natural calamities.

Millions of people have fled Afghanistan over the years and there are many internally displaced migrants who left their homes to seek sanctuary in relatively safer parts of the country.

According to the UN data, 133,000 Afghani citizens have been displaced in 2018 due to fighting. The current movement towards Herat has led refugees to create make-shift tents in the scorching summer heat when mercury rises up to 40 degrees.

The EU Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) has declared the situation a high-level emergency.

DG ECHO activated the EMS Rapid Mapping Component to provide information for operational analysis in the field. Four reference maps, displaying the local features and populations, and ten delineation maps were delivered, showing tents and monitoring changes. These maps were produced over four Areas of Interest (AoIs): Jalil Abad, Kahdestan, Shaidayee and Sharak Sabz.

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map of Shaidayee shows, between 28 June and 10 July, 1,378 tents were set-up, 470 were removed, and 3,551 remained as people moved towards Herat. Image Courtesy: Copernicus
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map of Sharak Sabz shows, between 27 June and 14 July, 264 tents were set-up, 118 were removed, and 646 remained as people moved towards Herat. Image Courtesy: Copernicus
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Map of Jalilabad
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Satellite imagery of Kahdestan
Makeshift tents in Shedaye