Afghan refugees facing difficulties due to lack of facilities at VRC

Peshawar—Afghan refugees going back to their country are facing problems due to lack of basic facilities here at UNHCR’s Voluntarily Repatriation Center (VRC).
During a visit to the VRC Chamkani, around 300 loaded trucks were found to be parked on GT Road in a long queue stretching over three kilometres, waiting for clearance by the authorities concerned.
The Afghan refugees, including men, women and children, have been on the green belt for days in open sky without the facilities of waiting rooms, drinking water, wash rooms, canteen, medicine etc, waiting from clearance from VRC. “This is the third day I am stuck here along with eight family members including a recently operated minor boy,” Shaki Tour, who came from DI Khan for going back to Qundoos in Afghanistan.
Sitting in an under construction shop near the VRC, Shaki Tour told APP that it was very tough to stay here in such a hot and humid weather without having any electric fan.
He said getting clearance from the VRC was a cumbersome process, which took a lot of time. Thousands of people were stranded outside the VRC, but its staff was availing two-day weekly offs (Saturday and Sunday), he complained.
Due to the increasing number of Afghans going back to their motherland, the UNHCR and Afghan Commissionarate should make arrangements for continuing the clearance process even on weekly holidays, suggested Habibullah, a young Afghan carpet weaver, who along with 50 relatives came from Attock city for travelling to Mazhar Sharif.
“Our women and children are taking shelter under trees to escape from scorching sun and spending nights on the main road,” an exhausted Habibullah said. He said,”Fear of snake or scorpion sting hounds our mind at night and we cannot take nap even for a moment to protect the women and children lying on road.”
Muhammad Noor, a resident of Qundoos, said majority of returning Afghans were unaware of weekly offs. They were coming from across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to increasing pressure from the administration.
Mir Hamza, a white bearded man who came from Lahore for going back to Kabul, said this was his third day and he did not know how much time it would take to get clearance from the VRC.—APP

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