The Government of Pakistan, the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in collaboration with the Pakistan Post Office Department, have announced an emergency cash assistance initiative benefiting the most vulnerable refugee families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan, said a press release issued on Tuesday.
The emergency cash is similar to the federal government's Ehsaas emergency cash programme, where vulnerable families receive Rs12,000 to cover a four-month period.
The emergency assistance will help the eligible refugee families to meet their urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UNHCR Deputy Representative in Pakistan, Iain Hall, and the Chairman/Director General of Pakistan Post Office Department, Akhlaque Rana, signed an agreement for the disbursement of the emergency cash grants.
The Federal Minister for SAFRON, Mehboob Sultan, the Secretary for SAFRON, Muhammad Aslam Kamboh, and the Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees, Saleem Khan, fully supported this initiative.
Over the past weeks, the UNHCR and the Commissi-onerate for Afghan Refugees, with the collaboration of partners, volunteers and refugee community leaders, have carried out vulnerability assessments to identify the most needy refugee families.
Those eligible for the emergency assistance include refugees with disabilities or serious medical conditions, as well as single parents.
Hall said that many thousands of vulnerable refugees lost their only source of income in the current coronavirus outbreak.
"UNHCR is very concerned by the growing destitution of refugee families who solely depend on daily wages. We hope that this emergency assistance will help the most vulnerable get through this health pandemic," said Hall.
He added that the UNHCR will initially target 36,000 refugee families, noting that if additional donor funds are secured, the humanitarian support will be expanded to many more needy families.-PR