The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Afghanistan is pleased to announce a new US$2 million project funded by the People of Japan to continue providing emergency response and assistance to undocumented, returning Afghan migrants affected by economic downturn and humanitarian crises in the border provinces of Hirat, Nimroz, Kandahar, and Nangarhar.
This funding forms part of the People of Japan’s recently announced US$106.7 million assistance package for Afghanistan to enable UN agencies, and international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to implement humanitarian projects.
Decades of conflict, recurrent natural disasters, and chronic poverty, compounded by the added shock of the political upheaval and resulting political transition in August 2021 continue to drive thousands of Afghans to migrate to neighboring countries in search of better opportunities. Many migrants, often using precarious channels, are regularly detained by more border police patrols, and deported by neighboring countries. Since the beginning of 2022, IOM has recorded more than 870,000 return movements of undocumented Afghan migrants through IOM-supported border crossing points from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan, of which 53% involved deportation – predominately from Iran.
“We truly hope these projects will help bring many smiles to Afghan people!” exclaimed the People of Japan as it announced the generous package which amounts to US$335 million in cumulative aid that they have donated to the country since August 2021.
Starting in January 2023, IOM teams will work with partners to screen, identify and provide life-saving post-arrival assistance to 7,500 undocumented, vulnerable Afghan migrants at 8 reception and transit facilities. This multi-sectoral assistance includes hot meals, overnight accommodation, cash to cover travel expenses, and onward referral to IOM teams and partners for specialized services. Particularly vulnerable returnees, such as single female returning migrants or separated or unaccompanied children, are referred to IOM programs and NGOs in their destination province for follow-up assistance. A further 1,000 returning Afghan families will receive essential household items, including kitchen equipment, blankets, and solar lamps. This assistance is complemented by basic primary health care services and partner assistance which includes food packages by the World Food Programme, Mine Risk Education provided by the Danish Refugee Council, the Danish Demining Group, and UN Mine Action Service, and psychosocial support by UNICEF implementing partners.
This grant will also contribute to DTM’s ongoing implementation of flow monitoring, at the four main border crossing points of both regular and irregular migration to and from neighboring countries. This will enable IOM to maintain a crucial evidence base that provides a greater understanding of the mobility trends, multi-sectoral needs, and drivers of migration, and thus enable partners to maximize resources and deliver better-targeted, timely and mobility-sensitive assistance to displaced populations and host communities.
“The contribution of US$2 million to IOM will ensure providing urgent lifesaving humanitarian assistance to vulnerable and underserved communities in Afghanistan,” said Maria Moita, Chief of Mission for IOM Afghanistan.
Thanks in part to the generous contribution of the People of Japan, IOM’s Cross-Border Return and Reintegration personnel have assisted over 230,000 undocumented Afghan migrants with immediate post-arrival assistance since the beginning of 2022.