UN allocates $10 million aid for Afghan returnees amid forced repatriation

The United Nations has earmarked $10 million in aid to offer essential support to migrants returning from Pakistan, as the neighboring country intensifies efforts to expel undocumented migrants, including hundreds of thousands of Afghans, following the November 1 ultimatum for voluntary return.

Martin Griffiths, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, announced the allocation, stating, “I am allocating $10 million from the UN’s emergency fund (UNCERF) to provide them with vital support and cover their basic humanitarian needs.”

This move comes amid conflicting statistics, with Griffiths noting that more than 300,000 Afghans have returned since mid-September, while the UNHCR reported over 350,000 returnees since the Pakistani government’s announcement.

UN agencies have raised alarms about the dire situation of returnees, highlighting that they were “forced to leave everything in Pakistan.” Hsiao-Wei, the World Food Programme Country Director in Afghanistan, expressed concerns after visiting the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, stating, “They return to Afghanistan at the worst of times, with no food, little resources, and nowhere to go.”

The situation is exacerbated as the harsh Afghan winter approaches, coupled with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, a battered economy, and a worsening climate crisis, according to Hsiao-Wei.

Many returning families have spent most of their lives in Pakistan and now find themselves hungry, destitute, and facing a bleak future. The organization emphasizes the urgent need for $16 million in funds to continue providing essential support to one million people in Afghanistan, helping them start over and rebuild their lives.

“We urgently need $16 million to help one million people start over and rebuild their lives,” Hsiao-Wei emphasized, addressing the critical shortage of funds.