As of early this morning, the United States has evacuated more than 80,000 people from Afghanistan following the collapse of the Afghan government. Most of those evacuees from Kabul’s international airport are U.S. citizens, but there are also many Afghan refugees. To aid this group, Airbnb.org and Airbnb, Inc. have announce they’re offering temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees worldwide. For a company where the main product is facilitating hospitality, it’s the perfect way to help.
“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.” Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky wrote on Twitter.
A rapid collapse
President Biden announced the drawdown of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan on April 14, 2021. The plan was for an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years. However, what happened was anything but orderly. In less than two weeks in August, militant Taliban forces swept across the country and into Kabul. The situation quickly became unsafe for many in the country, who were suddenly looking for a way out. Among those trying to escape are Afghans who worked for the U.S. military or government in the last 20 years. Eligible for special visas, this group numbers in the tens of thousands.
Currently, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports there are 2.6 million refugees from Afghanistan. That number will certainly rise in the coming days.
Airbnb.org is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide temporary housing to people around the world in times of crisis. Using Airbnb, Inc.’s technology and services, the organization has been able to offer accommodations to 75,000 people in times of crisis since 2012. The cost of housing Afghan refugees will be funded by contributions to Airbnb.org from Airbnb and Brian Chesky. In addition, they’ll also make use of a $25 million fund that was created in June to support refuges and asylum seekers.
Chesky hopes Airbnb.org’s contribution to the crisis will be mirrored by other companies, “I hope this inspires other business leaders to do the same. There’s no time to waste.”