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Afghanistan is one of the world's largest and most severe humanitarian crises. In light of the worsening protection situation, the estimated number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has increased to 28.8 million (up from 28.3 million at the beginning of 2023).

The UN and its partners are appealing to the international community not to forget or neglect the people of Afghanistan. Humanitarian partners remain on the ground, and they are delivering assistance and protection inside Afghanistan and in the region, despite the challenges.

A United Nations-wide plan has been launch in 2023 to respond to humanitarian needs inside Afghanistan. That plan seek $4.62 billion for some 23.7 million Afghans.

However, in response to the changing operating context, the 2023 HRP was revised in May to reassess planning assumptions and adjust accordingly. This revision outlines the prioritization of unmet needs for the remaining seven months of 2023 and presents a strategic shift in response approaches and delivery methods to operate effectively within the current operating space.

Photo: UNHCR

Photo: UNHCR

Some 3.4 million people are currently internally displaced by conflict, while over 1 million IDPs have returned to their places of origin since 2021. UNHCR assists IDPs and other vulnerable Afghans through targeted assistance to meet immediate needs and sustainable reintegration programmes in their places of origin.

In line with Solution Strategy, UNHCR facilitates voluntary repatriation for Afghan refugees from Iran, Pakistan and other countries who wish to return to their home country, once it is established that their return is voluntary, safe, dignified and durable. Since 2002, UNHCR has supported the return of nearly 5.3 million refugees to return to Afghanistan including 6,424 refugees in 2022.

The overall returns on 2022 is almost five times more than the overall returns in 2021, and three times higher than those who returned in 2020. Returnees stated as the main reasons behind return movements from Iran and Pakistan the cost of living and lack of employment opportunities in host countries, reunification with family and improved security situation in Afghanistan.

Refugee returnees are provided with a cash grant to help them address their immediate needs including transportation. As of 1 August 2022, the Voluntary Repatriation cash grant provided by UNHCR has been adjusted to USD 375 per person from USD 250 per person in view of the exponential increase in transportation and living costs in host countries and inside Afghanistan owing to inflation, and the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. Besides the cash grant, returning refugees receive basic health care and overnight accommodation when needed in Afghanistan and they may also receive other services provided by partners present at each Encashment Centre (EC).

Those who return often live side by side with vulnerable and affected local communities and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Together they share meagre resources and over-stretched infrastructure, making an area-based approach one of the most effective strategies in a community response. UNHCR implements area-based initiatives to support community stabilization through the provision of basic infrastructure and services.

The Support Platform is helping to build synergies around area-based approaches for solutions, in line with the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).