More than 1 million Afghan refugees have returned or been deported from neighbouring Pakistan and Iran since the beginning of this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday.
Taking to Twitter, the UN agency said: "Undocumented, burdened by debts, and without community support. More than a million Afghan migrants have returned or been deported to Afghanistan from Iran and Pakistan this year and are in urgent need of support.
"IOM protection teams are assisting them at a challenging time."
The IOM protection teams are assisting the returnees at a challenging time, the agency added.
Since the end of August after Afghanistan's takeover by the Taliban, more than 1,900 vulnerable undocumented returnees received emergency humanitarian assistance at the main border crossing points with Pakistan and Iran, and tens of thousands of people, including many entering Afghanistan, have been screened for Covid-19 in an effort to control the spread of the pandemic, according to the agency.
IOM's financial requirements under the joint Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Afghanistan in 2021 total $108.5 million, targeting 1.9 million among the most vulnerable people including those on the move.
The plan includes a $24 million appeal released in August which outlines immediate funding requirements in order to respond to pressing humanitarian needs.
The IOM's announcement came as other UN agencies, aid organisations and a number of non-profits are racing against time to deliver life-saving aid and supplies to crisis-hit Afghans ahead of winter.
According to the UNHCR, Afghans make up one of the largest refugee populations worldwide. There are 2.6 million registered Afghan refugees in the world, of whom 2.2 million are registered in Iran and Pakistan alone.
Another 3.5 million people are internally displaced, having fled their homes searching for refuge within the country.
In light of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in 2021, the number of people fleeing will likely continue to rise.
Afghanistan has suffered more than 40 years of conflict, natural disasters, chronic poverty and food insecurity.
Facing an ongoing humanitarian crisis, the resilience of refugees, internally displaced people and host communities is slowly reaching its limit.
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