| 20 May 2024, Monday |

U.N. airlifts winter shelters for displaced Afghans

On Tuesday, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) began airlifting supplies to Kabul to assist hundreds of thousands of displaced Afghans in constructing shelters in preparation for the winter.

A first plane, carrying 33 tonnes of flooring and dividers to increase tent insulation, is expected to arrive later Tuesday, according to the UNHCR. Two more flights are scheduled on November 4 and 7.

“More resources are urgently needed to reach all those who will need assistance to endure the upcoming hard winter,” UNHCR spokesman Shabia Mantoo said during a Geneva press conference.

The UNHCR said it is rushing to provide winter assistance to some 500,000 displaced Afghans, returnees and local host communities by the end of 2021.

It has already provided aid including shelter, food, blankets and stove to half a million Afghans this year.

Afghanistan was plunged into crisis in August after Taliban fighters drove out a Western-backed government, prompting donors to hold back billions of dollars in assistance for the aid-dependent economy.

Many Afghans are selling possessions to buy food with the Taliban unable to pay wages to civil servants, and urban communities are facing food insecurity on levels similar to rural areas for the first time.

Aid groups are urging countries, concerned about human rights under the Taliban, to engage with the new rulers to prevent a collapse they say could trigger a migration crisis similar to the 2015 exodus from Syria that shook Europe.

  • Reuters