UN assisting Afghan returnees with emergency food and cash: Report

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WFP welcomes $4.5 mln Australian support programme for FATA

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 16 (APP): The World Food Programme (WFP), a United  Nations agency, has launched a nine-month operation to assist Afghanistan in dealing with the growing numbers of returnees from Pakistan, as well as internally displaced people, by providing emergency food and funds.

Thousands of refugees are now crossing the border every day at the main  entry point of Torkham, with and without identity papers.

According to WFP, more than one million people are expected to be on the move across the country by the end of the year.

In cooperation with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, WFP said it intends to set up a digital registration platform at the border to capture the returnees’ biometric data using SCOPE, the agency’s beneficiary management application.

In addition, WFP is monitoring the situation using mVAM tool, a
vulnerability assessment mapping, to allow the community leaders to report any shift in the emergency situation over their mobile phones, and to ensure that no one is left behind. But a successful response depends on adequate financing.

“We need sufficient and timely funds in the coming weeks and months to  ensure that we can help returnees as rapidly and efficiently as possible,” Mick Lorentzen, WFP’s Country Director in Afghanistan, said, while ensuring that a quick and focused response to the crisis will prevent more people from falling into chronic food insecurity.

WFP and other United Nations agencies are working closely with the
Afghan government to increase the capacity of humanitarian response and meet immediate shelter, sanitation and food needs, which also required an urgent appeal for $152 million.

The agency is providing food and cash assistance for 163,000
undocumented returnees, 200,000 documented returnees, 150,000 internally displaced people, and 35,000 refugees in Khost and Paktika.

WFP has also increased its assistance in eastern Afghanistan, and is now providing support to prevent malnutrition to more than 23,000 toddlers from returnee families. The goal is to support 550,000 people through emergency operation.

WFP said it has received very generous and timely contributions from
Australia, Belgium, Italy and Norway. Operational costs are estimated to be $66.8 million, only 12 per cent of which has thus far been met.