Afghanistan: UNHCR’s first humanitarian flight to Kabul since Taliban takeover

A plane carrying dozens of tons of winter relief material from the United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) global stock landed in the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday afternoon, the UN agency said.

For this first UNHCR humanitarian flight to Kabul since the Taliban came to power, the plane took off from Sharjah earlier today and arrived in the Afghan capital at 3.30 pm local time carrying 33 tonnes of wintering kit for displaced Afghans. UNHCR said in a statement that this is the first of three UNHCR flights, with the next two landing in the Afghan capital on November 4 and 7.

Weighing 25 kg, each winter kit consists of a floor, partition and other elements intended to improve the insulation of the tent against the cold. UNHCR is working to provide winter assistance to approximately 500,000 displaced Afghans, returnees and members of local host communities by the end of 2021.

Humanitarian needs in Afghanistan are increasing rapidly as winter is approaching, when temperatures can drop to -25°C,” UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantu told a press briefing in Geneva.

Many displaced families do not have adequate shelter. Also, according to the UN expert agency, some people who have recently returned to their native places have found their homes unsuitable for the harsh winter in that country.

According to the UNHCR, nearly half a million people have received aid since the beginning of the year, including emergency shelter kits, food rations, blankets, cooking utensils, solar panels, solar lights and cash for the most vulnerable.

To provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and other countries in the region, the United Nations agency uses land, sea and air routes. Other relief materials have already been deployed in Termez, Uzbekistan, ready to be flown to Afghanistan if needed.

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Conflict and insecurity have displaced 3.5 million Afghans inside the country, about 700,000 of whom have been forced from their homes since the beginning of the year.

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