UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, urges greater support to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, warning that leaving Afghans and their host communities behind will have a far-reaching and negative impact on global efforts to fight the virus.
UNHCR in a press release said, “The coronavirus poses a very great threat to developing nations.
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An outbreak would put extraordinary strain on already fragile local health-care services and likely result in avoidable suffering and death.”
According to the press release, as the race against time continues globally, UNHCR appeals to the international community to boost solidarity with all three countries, and have at this critical time to prevent a larger-scale outbreak of the coronavirus among the most vulnerable communities.
“Despite persistent risks and insecurity, Afghans continue to return from both Iran and Pakistan. Tens of thousands of Afghan citizens have crossed over from Pakistan to Afghanistan since the temporary re-opening of the border last week. From Iran, while the number of Afghans nationals returning peaked at some 60,000 in March, around 1,500 individuals are currently returning every day,”the press release reads.
UNHCR added that Afghanistan faces the prospect of overwhelmed medical and social services, with a dramatic increase in Afghans returning home, hundreds of thousands of people living in displacement sites and rising poverty levels.