New Delhi: Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky Tuesday announced that the online lodging platform will host 20,000 Afghan refugees in its accommodations worldwide for free.
In a series of tweets Tuesday, Chesky said his company will be funding the stays of the Afghan refugees. However, no time frame was given on how long these accommodations will be provided for.
Starting today, Airbnb will begin housing 20,000 Afghan refugees globally for free.
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) August 24, 2021
In his tweet, he also thanked Airbnb hosts for their “generosity” and said the company was working closely with NGOs and partner organisations to implement the programme.
“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,” said Chesky.
Social media divided over announcement
The Airbnb chief’s announcement was met with an outpouring of support as well as questioning and criticism on social media.
Sherilyn Ifill, president of NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, a US-based civil rights organisation, was among those who lauded Chesky and Airbnb.
Well done @Airbnb. https://t.co/AJXzp0sSSB
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) August 24, 2021
Duty to Warn, an organisation of mental health professionals, also supported the move.
Airbnb offers free temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees. That’s the America we know and love. Long may she live
— Duty To Warn 🔉 (@duty2warn) August 24, 2021
However, several others questioned the details of Chesky’s refugee housing plan or outrightly condemned Airbnb.
Financial Times’ San Francisco correspondent Dave Lee inquired about the timeframe of the refugees’ Airbnb stay.
For how long?
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeFT) August 24, 2021
Some social media users also criticised the move, calling it a publicity stunt.
Sorry but Airbnb is not doing SHIT
It’s the owners of the properties that Airbnb loves to exploit and take credit for all of their extremely hard work and generosity.
A typical misleading headline from Airbnb.
— Starlight Jones (@starlight_jones) August 24, 2021
Details vague, as always with #Airbnb's charitable endeavours.
"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"
— Airbnb Whistleblower (@Susan17Airbnb) August 24, 2021
A refugee crisis has arisen in Afghanistan in light of the Taliban’s return to political power and the US forces’ withdrawal.
Over 50,000 Afghans and Afghanistan-based foreign nationals have been evacuated from the country following the US’ withdrawal and the Taliban’s takeover, according to Al Jazeera.
Also read: Afghan Sikhs, Hindus along with 3 copies of Guru Granth Sahib flown in to India from Kabul