Afghanistan needs the support of the international community more than ever to help millions of people involved in a displacement crisis, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has said after visiting the country with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock. Grandi called on donors to increase support for the humanitarian response and to deal with the causes at the root of the crisis.
'Major crisis' in Afghanistan
In a statement, UNHCR said that the crisis is a major one in terms of the number of people involved and its length. Nearly 4.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 1.9 million internally displaced persons and over 60,000 refugees who have returned home.
Outside the country, 2.6 million Afghan refugees are currently in Pakistan and Iran, together with an even larger number of undocumented Afghans and other citizens who have a passport. ''The country now more than ever needs the support of the international community, as it takes steps to pursue peace and stability, and to link humanitarian action to broader development efforts,'' said Grandi. ''Without a solution to displacement, there will be no lasting peace''.
There are currently 4.2 million people in Afghanistan who are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance due to conflict, displacement and natural disasters, including an ongoing draught. An additional 8.7 million people need assistance due to extreme poverty, high unemployment and the loss of means of support due to climate change.
Positive policies on refugee resettlements
In Kabul, Grandi and Lowcock expressed appreciation for Afghanistan's work to help refugees and internally displaced people return home, involving them in development and innovation policies that include the private sector. UNHCR reported that, despite the difficult conditions, as of early September some 12,000 refugees have returned to Afghanistan under the organization's voluntary repatriation program this year, adding to the more than 5.2 million Afghan refugees have been assisted to return home since 2002.
The agency said that, while recognizing the daunting challenges faced by Afghanistan, Grandi and Lowcock praised the inclusion of displaced persons and returnees in national programming, addressing land issues for returnees, investing in districts of high return and working together to ensure their reintegration is sustainable in the long-term and that the root causes of displacement and humanitarian crises are addressed.