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12/22/2016

The Next Big Challenge: The Refugees’ Return

During the past three decades many Afghans have migrated to Pakistan, Iran, and other countries as refugees in order to flee from the conflict in their home. This conflict and diaspora has deprived them of a normal life.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan, and this has become a major humanitarian crisis. These people have a variety of problems, including that they have returned to a place where violence is an everyday occurrence and where they have to cope with severe winters.

Since the beginning of 2016, millions of people have returned to their countries of origin. Many of them had lived in foreign countries for decades. For this reason, they need assistance from the government and humanitarian organizations immediately after their return.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 239,724 unregistered refugees have returned to their home as of December 3, 2016. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and IOM a large majority (80%) of the returnees have indicated a preference to return to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

The cultural similarities between Nangarhar and adjacent areas of Pakistan inspire this preference, as well as the refugees’ limited ties to their areas of origin after their prolonged absence.

Unfortunately however, less than 12% of unregistered returnees have reported that they have received some form of assistance, with the majority having received money and/or food.

In order to understand their current conditions, the JEN Afghanistan Team has met with some returnee households with the other international humanitarian organization, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), and the Department of Refugees and Repatriations of Parwan (DoRR Parwan).

It is apparent that there is not sufficient infrastructural support for the large number of returnees, and the arrival of the severe winter cold is the main concern.
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[JEN staff collecting basic information from returnees]

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[Severe winter is making the conditions worse for returnees]

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[There are not enough infrastructures for returnees]

December 22, 2016 in Afghanistan |