Airbnb has pledged to provide free housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees.
CEO Brian Chesky said Tuesday that the program would begin immediately, and that Airbnb would pay for the stays. “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 said in a series of posts on Twitter. Chesky said the company would work closely with NGOs and its nonprofit arm, Airbnb.org, which provides housing to people in need following natural disasters and other crises.
Chesky did not say how long refugees would be housed, or how long the company would fund their stays. The company did not immediately respond to a request from CNN Business for further information. Tens of thousands of people have been attempting to leave Afghanistan in recent days after the country’s capital, Kabul, fell to the Taliban. Many Afghans have come to the airport in Kabul in hopes of departing on evacuation flights operated by the United States and other governments.
Decades of conflict in Afghanistan has already produced an acute refugee crisis. There are almost 2.5 million registered refugees from Afghanistan, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, comprising the largest protracted refugee population in Asia. NGOs, religious groups and local governments in the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries have pledged to help Afghan refugees. Chesky called on the business community to follow suit. “I hope this inspires other business leaders to do the same. There’s no time to waste,” Chesky said on Tuesday.