KABUL (SW) – The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated US$3.8 million to support Afghans forced to leave Pakistan and return to Afghanistan.
WFP wrote on the social media platform X, stated that it can support 230,000 people forced to leave Pakistan to return to Afghanistan with cash assistance at the border to help cover their food needs for one month.
“The funding will allow WFP to provide cash assistance to nearly 33,000 families or more than 230,000 children, women and men, including persons with disabilities returning to Afghanistan at a time when already one third of the people are going hungry.”
These families are arriving at the worst of times, in winter, when hunger bites hardest in Afghanistan and humanitarian funding is at a low point, said WFP.
“Last year, funding shortages forced WFP to reduce the ration size and scale back life-saving food assistance, affecting 10 million people.”
“With the massive funding shortfalls for humanitarian action in Afghanistan, WFP has been able to respond to new crises only by borrowing from an already underfunded regular programme,” said Mutinta Chimuka, Deputy Country Director of WFP Afghanistan.
“Thanks to the contribution from the Central Emergency Response Fund, WFP will be able to support more than 230,000 Afghans forced to return from Pakistan with cash to cover the families’ food needs for one month. This not only gives them the choice but also stimulates local economies by supporting markets and shops.”
“With 500,000 Afghans having returned from Pakistan since last September, the importance of this timely allocation from the Central Emergency Response Fund cannot be overstated,” said Isabelle Moussard Carlsen, Head of Office for OCHA Afghanistan.
”In the face of the harsh Afghan winter, coinciding with the lean season and peak food insecurity, this CERF funding is a lifeline for thousands of returnees ensuring their immediate and long-term food needs are met. We remain committed to a sustained effort in supporting the most vulnerable and call for unwavering global solidarity with Afghanistan.”
The rapid funding made available through the CERF for WFP in Afghanistan has been crucial to reach some of the most vulnerable communities struck by shocks with life-saving assistance, WFP added.
WFP further noted that in 2023, received a total of US$29.3 million, which allowed the agency to respond to people struck by earthquakes in Herat Province and to help more than 200,000 vulnerable people get through the harsh winter with either food or cash assistance to help cover their food needs.