Humanitarian Aid for Returnees and Internally Displaced People

In the provinces of Kabul, Kunar, Laghman and Nangarhar, there are more than 1.7 million returnees and internally displaced people. The province of Nangarhar on the border with Pakistan is particularly affected by this and is taking in many of the refugees returning to Afghanistan. Local communities and towns are overwhelmed by the number of people seeking protection.


The expansion of public services and infrastructure cannot keep up with the rapid population growth. Significant shortcomings are particularly noticeable in the areas of health, education, training, water supply and transport. There is heavy competition for clean drinking water, medical care, education and housing. On average, three to four families live in mud houses that would normally only provide decent living conditions for one family. Up to 20 people live in some of these houses. Hygiene standards are alarmingly low. Latrines and sources of drinking water are often far away from the housing.

Armed conflict in areas controlled by non-governmental groups make the situation even more difficult. In addition, natural events such as floods and heavy rains frequently destroy fields, houses, drinking-water wells and sewage systems, jeopardising food security and human health.


Communities in Nangarhar province receiving high numbers of internally displaced people and returnees are able to alleviate the humanitarian needs of these groups. In close cooperation with the local authorities, the project provides housing and ensures access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities.

Measures and Results

The German Federal Foreign Office has commissioned Deutsche Welthungerhilfe to provide emergency aid to internally displaced people and returnees in Nangarhar province. The project focuses on four areas:

Accommodation for families

Adequate housing space is being provided for 500 particularly vulnerable families. The selected households are trained in earthquake-proof construction in advance. Welthungerhilfe provides building materials and liaises with the local authorities regarding building sites. The families put in their own time for the work. Under the supervision of Welthungerhilfe engineers, they themselves construct the houses they will live in.

In this way, the families’ living conditions are considerably improved. The women benefit in particular, because they spend a lot of time at home due to the culture context.

Access to drinking water

One thousand two hundred households are receiving an improved water supply. Welthungerhilfe is building ten water supply networks. These use a combination of solar energy and gravity to bring drinking water from the source to a central distribution point in the village. At the distribution point, there are covered shelters as well as ease of access designed especially for people with disabilities, children and the elderly. Simplified access to clean drinking water saves women and girls from walking long distances. The time they spend collecting water for the household is significantly reduced. At the same time they face less risk of violence from men as they do on the way to more distant water sources.

Access to sanitary facilities

The project is building 500 latrines to improve the inadequate sanitation situation in the target communities. Three thousand five hundred people will benefit from the latrines. Improved hygiene conditions and secure access to clean drinking water reduce communicable diseases.

Training for better living conditions

Welthungerhilfe is providing training in 1,200 households to improve the hygienic living conditions within families. The courses provide basic knowledge of household hygiene, common diseases and a healthy diet. These are primarily aimed at women, as they are mainly responsible for the running of the household and caring for infants and young children. 

At a glance

Improved access to hygiene, drinking water and housing for returnees and internally displaced people in Nangarhar, Afghanistan
Commissioned by:
German Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Implementing organisations:
Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e. V. (German Agro Action)
Programme objective:
To alleviate the humanitarian situation of returnees and internally displaced people in Nangarhar by improving access to housing, hygiene and drinking water
Overall term:
September 2018 - December 2019