More than 50,000 returning Afghan refugees benefit from UN shelter programme
KABUL - The United Nations refugee agency has nearly completed its shelter programme for more than 50,000 of the most vulnerable Afghan returnees this year, bringing to some 1.2 million those who have benefited since the re-integration project started in 2002.
This represents about 25 per cent of the more than 4.3 million Afghans assisted home by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since the United States-led ouster of the Taliban regime at the end of 2001 – 3.4 million from Pakistan and over 865,000 from Iran.
Of the more than 8,000 shelters planned in 2009, some 7,000 beneficiary families have been selected and construction is continuing, UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) spokesman Aleem Siddique told a news conference in Kabul, the capital, today.
“As in previous years, UNHCR shelters in 2009 are implemented in provinces of high return and for those who are the most vulnerable among returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs),” he said. “Getting shelter is one of the most pressing needs of returning refugees, along with land, jobs and security. Recognizing this, UNHCR has allocated a significant part of its budget to its shelter programme.”
UNHCR’s re-integration programme will continue for the next two years, especially in the shelter sector. It will also continue supporting the Government-led programme to allocate land to landless returnees.