Pakistan: UN urgently seeks donations for flood survivors

News Stories, 12 August 2010

© UNHCR/H.Mehboob
Displaced children await Ramadan food packages in Jalozai Camp.

ISLAMABAD, 11 August 2010 (UNHCR) With over 160,000 people having so far received UNHCR emergency shelter and relief assistance across flood-affected areas of Pakistan, the agency appealed on Wednesday for $41 million to help meet the urgent needs of a further 560,000 people, amounting to 80,000 families.

"The people of Pakistan urgently need the support of the international community," said Mengesha Kebede, UNHCR representative to Pakistan. "The monsoon floods that swept across the land destroyed homes, farms, factories and entire livelihoods for millions of people."

The $41 million that UNHCR is seeking is part of a wider $459 million UN appeal launched today at UN headquarters in New York. As the appeal was being made, UNHCR trucks that had been trapped for a week by landslides finally reached Quetta carrying all-weather family tents for thousands of people in Balochistan Province made homeless by the floods. A further five trucks are expected to arrive in Quetta over the next hours, bringing help to a further 20,000 people.

UNHCR is focusing its flood-relief efforts mainly in west and northwest Pakistan's Balochistan and Khyber Paktunkhwa provinces, where it is assisting Pakistani communities, people displaced by conflict, and long-time Afghan refugees.

"We're putting our stockpiles and expertise to work helping all communities affected by this disaster, but funding is urgently needed to help agencies respond in this time of crisis," UNHCR's Kebede said.

UNHCR, one of the world's leading aid agencies, is among the relief groups working with Pakistan's disaster management authorities to help families recover from the devastating floods that have destroyed more than 300,000 homes throughout the country.

Elsewhere in Pakistan, the agency has so far dispatched 1,000 tents to Sindh Province, which were delivered today in Sukkar and Shikarpur districts.

In the south, where flood waters are still rising, more than 600 spontaneous settlements have sprung up across affected districts of Sindh in public facilities including schools, colleges and government buildings. Conditions are extremely crowded. People are also camping out along roadsides and many lack shelter. UNHCR tents have been sent to the city of Sukkur with the remainder going to Shikarpur.

In northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a UNHCR assessment team today visited the badly damaged Azakehl refugee village, which formerly accommodated around 6,000 Afghan families. Their report detailed huge devastation.

"Ninty-nine percent of the camp has been completely destroyed by the floods, clearing the rubble would take at least two months," said Werner Schellenberg, UNHCR's shelter coordinator. "I saw a handful of people there trying to rescue their belongings but the majority of the Afghans have left to live with relatives or camp along the elevated roadside, where a makeshift site has sprung up."

UNHCR's main office in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is focusing it flood relief work on Charsadda, Nowshera, and damaged areas of Peshawar. The agency has also sent tents for 500 families to Swat, where an assessment mission is underway. The aid distributed so far has come entirely from stockpiles through which UNHCR has been helping people displaced by conflict in the northwest.

By Peter Kessler in Islamabad, Pakistan




Photo Essay: Documenting the floods in Pakistan

Photojournalist Alixandra Fazzina, winner of UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award among other commendations, is on the ground in Pakistan.

Photo Essay: Documenting the floods in Pakistan

2010 Pakistan flood emergency

Torrential rains and flash floods have affected around a million people in parts of southwest and northwestern Pakistan. More than one thousand people lost their lives when water inundated their homes in the past week. Though monsoon rains are nothing new for Pakistanis, it rained more than expected, washing away homes, roads and other basic infrastructure, creating the worst flood disaster in the country's history. UNHCR launched a relief response to support the authorities to help people affected by the flood. The local relief authorities in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces have started distribution of UNHCR-provided tents and other relief items. More relief items are on the way.

2010 Pakistan flood emergency

Pakistan: Tide of DestructionPlay video

Pakistan: Tide of Destruction

In two refugee villages near Peshawar, floods destroy family homes and damage a UNHCR warehouse.
Pakistan's DevastationPlay video

Pakistan's Devastation

Survivors assess the destruction left behind by the floods in Pakistan.
Pakistan: FloodsPlay video

Pakistan: Floods

Millions are displaced by the worst floods and landslides northwest Pakistan has seen in decades.

UNHCR country pages

The Global Report and Funding Reports

A comprehensive view of the refugee agency's challenges and achievements worldwide.


Governments, organisations and individuals who fund UNHCR's activities.

The Global Appeal and Supplementary Appeals

Alerting donors, organizations and individuals to the plight of millions of uprooted people.

Pakistan Earthquake: A Race Against the Weather

With winter fast approaching and well over a million people reported homeless in quake-stricken Pakistan, UNHCR and its partners are speeding up the delivery and distribution of hundreds of tonnes of tents, blankets and other relief supplies from around the world.

In all, the NATO-UNHCR airlift, which began on 19 October, will deliver a total of 860 tonnes of supplies from our stockpiles in Iskenderun, Turkey. Separately, by 25 October, UNHCR-chartered aircraft had so far delivered 14 planeloads of supplies to Pakistan from the agency's stocks in Copenhagen, Dubai and Jordan.

On the ground, UNHCR is continuing to distribute aid supplies in the affected areas to help meet some of the massive needs of an estimated 3 million people.

Pakistan Earthquake: A Race Against the Weather

Pakistan: Fleeing to Safety

More than 1.5 million people flee their homes in North-West Pakistan.

Fighting between the army and Taliban militants in and around the Swat Valley in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province has displaced more than 1.5 million people since the beginning of May. Some of the displaced are being sheltered in camps set up by the government and supplied by UNHCR. Others - the majority, in fact - are staying in public buildings, such as schools, or with friends and extended family members. Living conditions are harsh. With the onset of summer, rising temperatures are contributing to a range of ailments, especially for villagers from Swat accustomed to a cooler climate. Pakistan's displacement crisis has triggered an outpouring of generosity at home. UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres is urging a "massive" assistance effort from abroad as well.

Pakistan: Fleeing to Safety

Pakistan: Finding Refuge

Pakistani civilians continue to stream out of the region around the Swat Valley to find shelter in Mardana

More than 2 million people, according to local authorities, have been forced from their homes following Pakistani efforts to drive militants out of the region around north-west Pakistan's Swat Valley. Some 200,000 are living in camps set up by the Pakistani government and supplied by UNHCR and other agencies. The remainder are staying in schools or other communal buildings or being hosted by families. The heat is intense, reaching 45 degrees Celsius, and many of the displaced are suffering from heat-related infections and water-borne illnesses, although conditions are improving. UNHCR is providing tents, cooking sets, plastic sheeting and jerry cans, among other aid items. Award-winning photographer Alixandra Fazzina has spent the last two weeks documenting the plight of the internally displaced, from their arrival in safe areas, to the camps, schools and homes in which they now find themselves.

Pakistan: Finding Refuge

Pakistan: Returning HomePlay video

Pakistan: Returning Home

Since the beginning of November, UNHCR has been offering an enhanced package to every registered refugee in Pakistan choosing to go home to Afghanistan.
Pakistan: Helping the HostsPlay video

Pakistan: Helping the Hosts

Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees in Pakistan's Balochistan province have access to schools and basic services, but the cost is not easy to bear.
Pakistan: Pushed to SafetyPlay video

Pakistan: Pushed to Safety

Thousands are forced to flee the fighting in Pakistan's Khyber Agency on the border with Afghanistan.