UNHCR ups Pakistan floods appeal to US$120 million

News Stories, 24 August 2010

© UNHCR/D.A.Khan
This displaced family from Jacobabad, Sindh, must live in the open in Quetta.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, August 24 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency said Tuesday it was upping its appeal for Pakistan's flood victims to US$120 million so that it can provide emergency shelter and assistance to some 2 million people over the next four months.

UNHCR, which had previously sought US$41 million for its special Pakistan operation, made the announcement as field workers reported that encampments were mushrooming across Sindh province as the floods spread into new areas of southern Pakistan over the past few days.

"Our field staff report that some 700,000 displaced people are living in 1,800 settlements many of these located in schools or colleges or in the few camps set up by the government," spokesman Andrej Mahecic said "UNHCR is distributing tents and other relief items and providing technical advice to local officials on camp management and camp coordination issues."

In Sindh's Thatta district, where dozens of towns and villages have been flooded, a further 150,000 people fled from Kukkar over the weekend. A new warning has been issued for Shahdadkot, where floodwaters are pouring out of breaches in the Tori and Begari Canals, threatening to submerge parts of the town which has a population of 400,000 people.

About 80 per cent of the area around the town of Jacobabad in Sindh is under three to five feet of water. The flooding is moving west towards neighbouring Balochistan province. Most of the population of Jacobabad has left, but there are still 10,000 to 15,000 people who are staying to protect their properties. The authorities estimate that around 3.6 million people are now homeless in Sindh, with numbers expected to rise as the flood waters continue south.

In Balochistan, people are taking shelter on the rooftops of Gandhaka after more high tides hit the area. A further 33,000 people are reported to have moved into the area from Sindh in recent days, adding to the existing 1 million displaced and flood-affected people in the province.

UNHCR has sent relief items to the hard-hit districts of Sibi, Jaffarabad and Nasirabad. More UNHCR aid has reached the province in recent days, with the arrival of another 720 tents.

"In light of these needs UNHCR is today revising upwards the funding it is seeking to US$120 million from US$41 million previously," Mahecic said.



Pakistan: Searching for a safer placePlay video

Pakistan: Searching for a safer place

The rising waters of Pakistan's Sindh River force 1 million people to search for safety.
Pakistan: Getting ShelterPlay video

Pakistan: Getting Shelter

Tents are set up to help with the influx of displaced people.

UNHCR country pages

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

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: 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.