UN fund allocates $3.8 million for aid to Afghan returnees from Pakistan

Afghan migrants returning from Pakistan through Spin Boldak border crossing in Kandahar. File photo.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a $3.8 million contribution from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to aid Afghans returning from Pakistan to Afghanistan. This funding will enable WFP to provide cash assistance to nearly 33,000 families, or more than 230,000 individuals including children, women, men, and persons with disabilities.

“With half a million Afghans returning from Pakistan since last September, the significance of this timely contribution from CERF is immense,” said Isabelle Moussard Carlsen, Head of Office for OCHA Afghanistan. “During the harsh Afghan winter, which coincides with peak food insecurity, this funding is vital for thousands of returnees, ensuring their immediate and long-term food needs are met. We continue our commitment to supporting the most vulnerable and urge for global solidarity with Afghanistan.”

The returnees arrive in the midst of winter, Afghanistan’s toughest period for hunger, and at a time when humanitarian funding is critically low. Last year, WFP had to cut ration sizes and reduce food assistance, impacting 10 million people due to funding shortages, WFP said in a statement.

“Amid massive funding gaps for humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, WFP’s response to emerging crises has been by reallocating resources from an already strained regular program,” stated Mutinta Chimuka, Deputy Country Director of WFP Afghanistan. “The CERF’s contribution allows WFP to support over 230,000 Afghans returning from Pakistan with cash for a month’s food needs. This aid not only offers them choice but also boosts local economies by supporting markets and shops.”

The swift CERF funding for WFP in Afghanistan has been critical in delivering life-saving assistance to some of the most vulnerable communities affected by shocks. In 2023, WFP received a total of $29.3 million, aiding earthquake victims in Herat Province and assisting over 200,000 people through the winter with food or cash for their food needs.