In a plea for urgent assistance, the World Food Programme (WFP) in Afghanistan has declared the need for $27.5 million to support refugees returning from Pakistan. With the harsh winter looming and a substantial funding deficit, the WFP warns that aid to returnees hangs precariously in the balance.
Due to the financial constraints, WFP has been compelled to reduce emergency food assistance to 10 million people, leaving only one in five of those in desperate need with the support necessary for survival. The situation is further exacerbated by the imminent winter, ongoing earthquakes, economic challenges, and a deteriorating climate crisis that have left the country grappling with multiple crises simultaneously.
Hsiao-Wei Lee, the WFP Afghanistan Country Director, expressed the gravity of the situation, stating, “The situation is particularly dire as the harsh winter is only weeks away and the country is still reeling from devastating earthquakes, a battered economy and a worsening climate crisis.”
Many families returning across the border find themselves arriving in Afghanistan hungry, desperate, and in immediate need of support. WFP continues its efforts by providing arriving families with fortified biscuits and cash to purchase food or other essential items. In the current month alone, WFP has assisted 250,000 people in this manner.
Lee emphasized the urgency of securing $27.5 million to aid the anticipated one million returnees from Pakistan, helping them navigate the challenges of the impending winter. She highlighted the grim reality faced by these families, arriving in a country where a third of the population is unsure of where their next meal will come from.
The appeal underscores the critical need for international support to ensure that vulnerable Afghan returnees receive essential assistance during these trying times, preventing further deterioration of their already precarious living conditions.