The UN refugee company has warned that Afghans may die in harsh winter circumstances if they do not get sufficient shelter as soon as they cross the border from Pakistan.
Almost half one million Afghans have left Pakistan since early October, when the Islamabad authorities introduced it will arrest and deport foreigners it mentioned had been within the nation illegally. The overwhelming majority of them are from neighboring Afghanistan, although Islamabad insists the coverage would not goal a selected nationality.
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The pressured returns are piling stress on Afghanistan and support companies, that are offering the majority of important providers like well being care. Freezing temperatures are setting in and circumstances on the border stay dire.
“Many Afghan returnees are vulnerable, including women and children, who could lose their lives in a harsh winter if left without adequate shelter,” the U.N. refugee company mentioned in a report revealed Friday. “People arriving at the border are exhausted and require urgent assistance as well as psychosocial support.” Families informed the company they had been fearful that colder winter temperatures in sure areas, notably mountainous areas, might forestall them from returning dwelling straight away.
“Many are arriving with illness, for example bronchitis, as a result of the cold weather and the difficult journey from Pakistan,” the company mentioned in a message to The Associated Press on Sunday. “They may not have all their belongings, including clothing, and therefore be unable to protect themselves from the elements.” It mentioned that amongst these returning to Afghanistan are households who’ve by no means lived within the nation. They have been residing in Pakistan for a number of generations and should not have houses or prolonged household to return to.
Cash to pay hire is required, whereas households with some current social networks may stick with household or pals. Others might return to houses needing restore. The company mentioned it would present tents to such households.
“For those who have nowhere to go, with limited means, they may stay in camps, established near the border,” the refugee agency said.
A Taliban committee said it is distributing food, water, SIM cards, clothing and cash at two key border crossings: Torkham and Spin Boldak. Families are also learning about Afghanistan, the Islamic system, temporary living arrangements, registration and relocation, the committee said Sunday.
But extreme temperatures and limited access to clean water and sanitation have led to a surge in infectious diseases and malnutrition.
U.N. Women said there are additional challenges for Afghan women and girls leaving Pakistan as they have to deal with Taliban restrictions that could affect their mobility and access to information and services if they don’t have a male relative. It expressed similar concerns after October’s deadly earthquakes in Afghanistan’s west.
The agency said around 80% of Afghans returning through Torkham and Spin Boldak are women and children.
In its latest report, also published Friday, it said many women have lived through “distressing experiences” in Pakistan together with being the victims of unlawful detention, witnessing their partner or members of the family be arrested, or being separated from kin and returning to Afghanistan alone.
Women informed U.N. companies they had been “compelled” handy their possessions over in alternate for transportation, depart all their belongings behind or noticed their revenue taken by Pakistani authorities.
The crackdown is vastly controversial and has drawn condemnation from rights teams, the Taliban, support companies and the U.N.