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Afghanistan: timely injection of funds

Briefing notes

Afghanistan: timely injection of funds

5 April 2002

As of this morning, a total of 184,068 Afghans in Pakistan have returned home under the joint repatriation programme that began on March 1. The daily numbers have been ranging around 14,000 at the Takhta Baig registration centre near Peshawar.

Mobile registration teams are also working now in Karachi, where substantial numbers of Afghans live. Those volunteering to return are entitled to receive up to $100 per family as well as a food package and a set of non-food items. On Wednesday, 50 families (254 people) were registered in Karachi and they left yesterday (Thursday) for Afghanistan via Peshawar and the Torkham border crossing. Yesterday, another 110 families were registered and they were scheduled to leave Karachi this morning via the same route. Most of the refugees are heading to the north. Many are Uzbeks.

In southern Balochistan Province, mobile teams are registering returnees in camps and in the city of Quetta. Yesterday, 180 families (about 1,000 people) were registered and departed immediately through the Chaman border crossing to Afghanistan. The first voluntary repatriation centre in Balochistan is going to be opened on Monday in Balali, on the main road from Quetta to the border.

We have now received $160 million out of the initial budget of $271 million for UNHCR's Afghanistan programme - including a very welcome and much-needed injection of some $32 million in recent days. As you recall, we only had about $2 million left in the bank earlier this week. The latest contributions include $20 million from the United States, $8.8 million from the Netherlands, $1.8 million from Canada, $800,000 from France and $600,000 from Ireland. A timely injection of funds is particularly crucial at this stage given the large numbers of people returning and the need for shelter materials and other assistance for returnees.