The government of Japan on Thursday announced it recently provided a total of $21.3 million to aid agencies for humanitarian and emergency assistance in Afghanistan – this in addition to the $63 million USD it gave the Afghan government to improve irrigation systems and rural access across the country.
The funding from Japan will allow the agencies to address humanitarian challenges through the provision of vital support to refugees returning from Pakistan and Iran, and to people suffering from food insecurity, malnutrition, natural disaster, displacement and other critical situations.
The contribution responds to requirements under UNOCHA’s 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan.
In a press release issued by the Embassy of Japan in Afghanistan, they said the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) received $4 million USD.
This money will help fund the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees from Iran and Pakistan, foster sustainable reintegration of the returnees in Afghanistan, and deliver humanitarian assistance to refugees in the south-eastern part of Afghanistan.
“Japan’s contribution will help UNHCR to provide protection and monitoring of returnees, as well as to maintain the functioning of three encashment centers in Herat, Nangarhar and Kabul provinces, benefitting an estimated 30,000 Afghan returnees.”
In addition, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) received $2.3 million USD.
This “will enable UNICEF to provide water, sanitation and hygiene services to nearly 20,000 individuals who have been affected by conflict or natural disaster. The project supported by the Japanese fund will also facilitate protection of about 22,000 children and parents in emergency situations and reintegration of about 4,800 unaccompanied Afghan children repatriated from Iran to Afghanistan,” read the statement.
Also, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) received $2 million USD.
This will support demining activities in Kandahar, Kunduz, and Farah provinces, where many communities remain affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW).
“It is expected that a total of 1.76 square kilometers of land will be cleared of landmines and ERW, directly benefitting 13,198 people who reside within 500 meters from contaminated areas, with indirect beneficiaries estimated at 456,885. The assistance will contribute to socio-economic development as well as an overall reduction of civilian casualties,” read the statement.
World Food Program (WFP) meanwhile received $8 million USD, which will help to directly address food insecurity and malnutrition in Afghanistan, as well as to provide Humanitarian Air Services.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) also received funding – $5 million USD.
This will go to support IOM to provide humanitarian assistance to 26,720 highly vulnerable undocumented Afghan returnees from Pakistan and Iran.
“Additionally, the project will establish and pilot a reintegration tracking mechanism for vulnerable undocumented returnees in the high-return provinces of Kabul, Nangarhar, Herat, Nimroz, Khost and Paktika. Japan’s contribution will also help to facilitate the return of 65 highly qualified Afghans from Iran, 35 percent of whom are expected to be female, to work in, and transfer their skills to, public institutions in Kabul.”
This announcement comes just a day after the embassy announced it provided the Afghan government with over $63 million USD to “support improvement of irrigation systems and rural access in Afghanistan.”
In a statement issued by the embassy on Tuesday, they said the funding, contributed through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), administered by the World Bank, will support the Irrigation Restoration and Development Project (IRDP) and the Afghanistan Rural Access Project (ARAP).
Over the past few years, Japan has assisted Afghanistan’s nation-building efforts in various fields, ranging from security to economic and social development sectors including agriculture, rural development, infrastructure and human capacity development. The cumulative Japanese assistance to Afghanistan since 2001 amounts to over $6 billion USD.