World Food Programme (WFP) Director in Afghanistan, Hsiao-Wei Lee, has expressed deep concern regarding the forced deportation of refugees from Pakistan ahead of the harsh winter season.
Lee highlighted that more than one million people are expected to leave Pakistan, with over 3,70,000 already arriving in Afghanistan. These refugees are being compelled to return to Afghanistan during what is considered the “most challenging time of the year”.
Lee emphasized the grim prospects for these families, stating that they are uncertain about their survival in the upcoming freezing winter. Notably, Afghanistan faces an unforgiving winter, making it extremely challenging for the returnees. Unfortunately, there are no welcoming arms awaiting these families in their home country, according to Khaama Press.
The returnees have also voiced their dissatisfaction with the behaviour of Pakistani forces and are requesting that the deportations be halted or that they be allowed to take their belongings with them.
Meanwhile, despite calls from the UN and human rights groups to stop the deportations, Pakistani authorities are planning to complete the process by January, further intensifying the dire situation.
Experts as well as international aid organisations have raised concerns about the lack of transparency highlighting the risk of foreigners entering Afghanistan under the guise of nationals and raised alarm over the harsh conditions faced by Afghan returnees in the country, especially during the severe winter.
The United Nations has also voiced concern about the welfare of Afghan citizens who have arrived in Afghanistan and has called on the Pakistan government to halt the expulsion of more than one million Afghan refugees, at least during the winter season.
The World Health Organisation had previously said that in order to offer medical care to refugees who either willingly or involuntarily return to the nation from Pakistan, they would require ten million dollars in help.
The global health body also issued a warning over the spread of infectious diseases among refugees who are returning home and stated that if prompt assistance and health services are not provided, there may be a rise in the number of patient deaths.
(with inputs from ANI)