KABUL, 10th January, 2017 (WAM) — Ongoing conflict across different parts of Afghanistan forced more than 623,000 people to leave their homes in 2016, according to a UN report published Monday.

At the beginning of last year, the UN had only expected 250,000 people to be internally displaced in the war-torn country, however the number rose dramatically as intense fighting in several parts of Afghanistan continued throughout the year.

More than 40,000 people were newly registered as displaced in the three weeks since the UN reported that there were 580,000 internally displaced persons, IDPs, on 18th December.

The report, which was quoted by the dpa news agency, says that the number of those displaced by conflict were the highest number recorded, adding that the total number of displaced people in 2016 will continue to rise over the next few weeks as assessments of existing IDPs caseloads are carried out throughout the country.

Adding to the chaos, around one million registered refugees and undocumented Afghans were forced to return from Iran and Pakistan in 2016, posing a challenge for the Afghan government and aid agencies alike to assist all those displaced and returned.

According to the recently published UN Humanitarian Needs Overview, more than 9 million people are now in need of assistance – an increase of 13 percent over 2015.

Humanitarian helpers warn of deadly consequences for hundreds of thousands of people who have no shelter and little food during the winter.