UNHCR helps with cash assistance 75,000 Afghan refugee families hit by COVID-19 in Pak

Peshawar Jan 29 (PTI) UN refugee agency UNHCR has provided emergency cash assistance to 75,000 vulnerable Afghan refugee families that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan, an official said on Friday.

More than 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees are hosted in Pakistan. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their ability to work and earn a minimum livelihood, mainly as daily wage earners, has been severely affected.

“Cash assistance to 75,000 refugee families is about leaving no one behind, as the COVID-19 pandemic does not discriminate,” UNHCR Representative in Pakistan Noriko Yoshida said.

UNHCR’s emergency cash programme has supported a total of 450,000 Afghan refugees in Pakistan. One out of every three Afghan refugees has benefitted from this support.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched an emergency cash programme in May 2020. The programme mirrored the Pakistan government’s Ehsaas scheme under which vulnerable Pakistani families receive a one-off cash grant of Rs 12,000.

UNHCR’s support helped vulnerable refugee families meet their critical needs, such as food, health, education, as well as rent and transportation, the UN agency said in a statement.

UNHCR’s cash assistance programme was established and rolled out in collaboration with the Ministry of States and Frontier Region (SAFRON)/Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees (CAR), the Pakistan Post, some partner NGOs, and a network of refugee volunteers and community leaders, it said.

Using vulnerability criteria, this volunteer refugee network supported the process of identifying the needy refugee families.