Shelters, Winter Supplies Reach 1,100 Vulnerable Afghan Returnee Families in Nangarhar

Date Published: 
Friday, March 10, 2017

During the first week of March 2017, IOM delivered shelter and winter supplies to 1,112 vulnerable Afghan families who returned to Nangarhar province from Pakistan.

Since the beginning of 2016, nearly 260,000 undocumented Afghans have returned from Pakistan. Over 70 percent of them have settled in Nangarhar province, both in the provincial capital Jalalabad and in rural districts.

Many of the returnees have lived outside of Afghanistan for more than 20 years, or were born in Pakistan as part of the undocumented Afghan community there. The returnees face challenges as they reintegrate into communities contending with conflict and record levels of displacement.

IOM staff visited returnee families in these areas in the weeks leading up to the distribution, and found that many needed shelters and supplies for cold weather. A winter kit consisting of blankets, a heater and a gas cylinder, as well as a shelter with a tarpaulin, were distributed to the families.

“These are items that should really benefit returnees living in very difficult situations,” said Ikramullah Wahidy, IOM Cross-Border Return and Reintegration Coordinator in Nangarhar.

Like many returnees, Abdul Wahad was born in Pakistan and has struggled to restart his life after returning to Afghanistan. Although he is only 30 years old, he wears a brace and has to frequently sit and rest due to a recent back injury.

“I was a tailor in Pakistan and made a good living, but one day I fell off the roof while working on my house,” he says. “Now I can’t work much and am dependent on my brother. The support today will help me a lot, since I don’t even have a blanket.”

While returns from Pakistan have declined since the peak in 2016, previous surges in returns have been unpredictable and an estimated 1 million undocumented Afghans still remain in Pakistan. IOM is scaling up its operations at the border in preparation for further returns, and is working with partners to develop sustainable solutions for reintegration.

Funding for the distribution of the winter kits was provided by the governments of the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland.

A second round of distributions is planned for a further 600 returnee families in Kabul, Laghman and Kunar, starting on March 12th.

For further information, please contact Matt Graydon at IOM Afghanistan. Tel. +93 729 229 129, Email: mgraydon@iom.int