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    UNHCR provides winter assistance to returnees

    AIBAK (PAN): The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday provided hundreds of families returning from neighbouring countries to northern Samangan province with winter assistance, an official said.

    Each family was assisted with 100 kilograms of wheat, 100 kilograms of coal, one gas cylinder, six blankets, two plastic tarpaulins and warm clothes including jackets, shoes, veil, socks and boots for children, said head of the provincial refugees and returnee department, Amanullah Muradi.

    The families had returned from Pakistan and Iran.

    Amanullah, 70, a resident of Shulq Toi village of Hazrat Sultan district, said they were poor and were unable to pay transportation costs for carrying the relief goods to their houses.

    He said his family of nine people had been living with neighbours.

    Ali Khan, 23, a resident of Khuram Sar Bagh district, said he returned home after spending 26 years in Pakistan. He said he had built a one-room home for his seven family members.

    Muradi confirmed problems facing the returnees. He said 400 families lacked shelter.

    However, he said the families would be provided shelters next year.

    According to Muradi, about 6,000 families had returned from neighbouring countries to Samangan, with 400 families lacking a shelter.

    He said the UNHCR had provided shelters for 132 returning families during the ongoing year in the province.