Afghanistan

Afghanistan: IOM helps Afghan forced returnees from Iran

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IOM has donated 130 tents to house vulnerable Afghan families forced to return home from Iran.

The tents have been sent to the western provinces of Farah and Nimroz and will be erected on land belonging to host families overburdened by the sheer number of returnees.

The agency has also begun assisting returnee families who have reached Kabul by providing blankets and medical assistance.

In the past month, a total of 77,900 undocumented Afghan labour migrants and their families have been forcibly returned from Iran. Based on the incoming flow levels and government projections, roughly 1,500 people a month are expected to continue to arrive in the coming months.

"We lost everything and my husband has no job to come back to," said Marzia Mohammadi, aged 17, a mother of baby twins who crossed the border at Islam Qala and travelled to Kabul. The babies were treated on arrival by an IOM doctor.

IOM's intervention follows an appeal by President Karzai to the international community for help to cope with the massive influx of returnees.

"Local community and government authorities are responding, but their resources are very limited. Many of these people are returning with nothing. We need to mobilize international resources as soon as possible to avert a humanitarian crisis," says IOM Chief of Mission Fernando Arocena, who took part in one of four recent UN assessment missions to border crossing points.

The forced removals are taking place at a time when Afghanistan still faces serious internal challenges. The security situation remains volatile; unemployment in general and among the youth and unskilled labourers in particular is reaching alarming levels; and there is a desperate shortage of urban and rural housing.

IOM is appealing for international donor support to restock its emergency supplies and respond to the immediate needs of the returnees.

For further information, please contact Fernando Arocen at IOM Kabul. Tel + 93 (0) 700 251 255. Email: farocena@iom.int. Or Katsui Kaya. Tel +93 (0) 700 185 961. Email: kkaya@iom.int.

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