Afghans close to completing UN shelter scheme for returning refugees
A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Kris Janowski, said today that 34,000 homes have already been built, providing shelter to more than 170,000 people who returned to Afghanistan this year after years of war and Taliban rule.
At a press briefing in Geneva, Mr. Janowski said another 16,000 houses are currently under construction and should be ready for habitation by the end of the year. Another 2,000 homes are expected to be built early next year.
In October, the UNHCR stepped up the pace of the scheme to try to make sure that as many homes as possible were built ahead of Afghanistan’s normally bitter winter.
Mr. Janowski said that, under the scheme, the UNHCR provides tool kits, walls, roofing timbers, doors and window frames to approved refugees, as well as a stipend to help pay for construction.
The UNHCR has estimated that more than 610,000 Afghan refugees have returned this year, with almost all arriving from either Pakistan or Iran.