US hikes fund for repatriation of Afghan refugeesArchive
WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday increased its annual assistance for the resettlement of refugees returning to Afghanistan to $207 million.
The US State Department said the funds were meant to “meet the extraordinary needs of Afghan refugees returning to Afghanistan”.
The additional $39m announced on Wednesday brings the total US contribution to the Afghan humanitarian response to more than $207m since the beginning of fiscal year 2016.
Since January, more than 380,000 registered Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan, most of them from Pakistan.
The funds announced on Wednesday include more than $19m in support for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help address the urgent needs of these vulnerable individuals, by providing them shelter, essential household items and supplies for winter.
The US is also providing $20m to the World Food Programme’s Afghanistan Emergency Operation targeting vulnerable returnees and refugees in eastern Afghanistan and people displaced by conflict. This response to the WFP’s recent special appeal for these populations represents enough to serve 548,000 people for nine months.
“These vulnerable people urgently need the international community’s assistance and support in the coming winter months,” the State Department said in a statement. “The US urged all countries to contribute the remaining funds still needed for UN humanitarian appeals for Afghanistan,” it added.
Since 2014, Pakistan had intensified its efforts to repatriate Afghan refugees, sending back more than 200,000 this year.
The Afghan government, however, protested against the repatriation, saying it did not have the resources to resettle such a large number of refugees.
Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2016