ISLAMABAD: The Japanese government has announced a contribution of USD $2.1 million to support Afghan refugees and their host communities in Pakistan.
The new funding will strengthen United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR’s) interventions in the areas of education, healthcare, and water and sanitation – benefitting 70,000 refugees and host communities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Balochistan, Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh.
Japanese Ambassador Kuninori Matsuda, and UNHCR Representative in Pakistan Ruvendrini Menikdiwela, signed the agreement at a ceremony in Islamabad.
According to a statement, the project will be implemented under the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) programme, which is being supported by the international donor community in the spirit of burden and responsibility-sharing and in recognition of Pakistan’s hospitality towards Afghan refugees. Through RAHA, a wide array of projects are being implemented across the sectors of education, health, livelihoods, infrastructure, water, sanitation and social protection.
Speaking at the occasion, Menikdiwela commended the people and government of Japan for the contribution, which will allow UNHCR to continue assisting vulnerable refugees to access better primary health care and improve the condition of schools.
She said the project will also help improve access to and increase the availability of potable water in communities currently hosting Afghan refugees as water scarcity, especially in Balochistan, has impacted the lives of people.
Matsuda noted that the Japanese government greatly appreciates the tremendous efforts and commendable hospitality of the government of Pakistan for having hosted Afghan refugees for four decades. I hope that this aid will not only provide access to education, healthcare, and water and sanitation facilities to Afghan refugees and host communities but will also further strengthen the existing good relations between Japan and Pakistan.
The ambassador added, “The Japanese government is also pleased to continue supporting UNHCR to assist the government of Pakistan in its efforts to provide basic facilities to Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan.”
The government of Japan is UNHCR’s fifth-largest government donor worldwide
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2019.