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24 Aug, 2021 14:26

‘Biggest humanitarian crisis of our time’: Airbnb to provide free housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees

‘Biggest humanitarian crisis of our time’: Airbnb to provide free housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees

Airbnb has announced that it will provide 20,000 Afghan refugees with free temporary housing around the world, working with partners such as former UK foreign secretary Ed Miliband.

Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky revealed on Twitter that, from Tuesday onwards, the company “will begin housing 20,000 Afghan refugees globally for free.”

“The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the US and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. We feel a responsibility to step up,” Chesky declared, expressing his hope that other business leaders would “do the same” as “there’s no time to waste.”

Chesky also called on those who would be willing to host Afghan refugees in their properties to reach out to the company.

Airbnb’s scheme will be funded by the company and its CEO, along with donors to Airbnb’s ‘Refugee Fund’.

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The Airbnb CEO did not reveal how long the refugees would be housed for and the company failed to respond to several news organizations that asked, including CNN.

In a separate statement, Chesky said “the Airbnb community will provide” Afghan refugees “with not only a safe place to rest and start over, but also a warm welcome home.”

Several NGOs are partnering with Airbnb for the scheme, including the New York-based International Rescue Committee, which is led by former UK foreign secretary David Miliband.

Miliband – who served in several ministerial positions under former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and also worked as Blair’s head of policy – praised Airbnb’s scheme in a statement of his own, noting that “accessible housing is urgently needed and essential.”

Blair’s 1997-2007 Labour government supported and aided the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, which ultimately led to a major Afghan refugee crisis, which has worsened following the pullout of US troops from the country following nearly 20 years of occupation this month amid a Taliban takeover.

The UN Refugee Agency places the number of registered Afghan refugees at 2.5 million. Other figures, however, place the number at over 3.5 million – with roughly 270,000 displaced since January this year.

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