Airbnb announces it will welcome 20,000 Afghan refugees – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) – Airbnb pledged to provide free housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees.

CEO Brian Chesky said on Tuesday the program would begin immediately and Airbnb would pay for stays.

“The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the United States and elsewhere is one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time. We feel responsible for stepping up, ”Chesky said in a Twitter message series.

Chesky said the company will work closely with NGOs and its non-profit arm, Airbnb.org, which provides housing to people in need following natural disasters and other crises.

Chesky did not say how long the refugees would be housed, or how long the company would fund their stay. The company did not immediately respond to a request from CNN Business for more information.

Tens of thousands of people have tried to leave Afghanistan in recent days after the country’s capital, Kabul, fell to the Taliban. Many Afghans have come to Kabul airport in the hope of leaving on evacuation flights operated by the United States and other governments.

Decades of conflict in Afghanistan have already produced a refugee crisis. There are nearly 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, faith 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 is no time to waste, ”Chesky said Tuesday.

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