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.

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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 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 Earthquake: The Initial Response

The UN refugee agency is providing hundreds of tonnes of urgently needed relief supplies for victims in northern Pakistan. UNHCR is sending family tents, hospital tents, plastic sheeting, mattresses, kitchen sets, blankets and other items from its global stockpiles. Within a few days of the earthquake, just as its substantial local stocks were all but exhausted, UNHCR began a series of major airlifts from its warehouses around the world, including those in Denmark, Dubai, Jordan and Turkey.

UNHCR does not normally respond to natural disasters, but it quickly joined the UN humanitarian effort because of the sheer scale of the destruction, because the quake affected thousands of Afghan refugees, and because the agency has been operational in Pakistan for more than two decades. North West Frontier Province (NWFP), one of the regions most severely affected by the quake, hosts 887,000 Afghan refugees in camps.

While refugees remain the main focus of UNHCR's concern, the agency is integrated into the coordinated UN emergency response to help quake victims.

Pakistan Earthquake: The Initial Response

Pakistan Earthquake: Major push to Bring in Aid before Winter

With the snow line dropping daily, the race to get relief supplies into remote mountain areas of Pakistani-administered Kashmir intensifies. In a major push to bring aid to the people in the Leepa Valley, heavy-lift Chinook helicopters from the British Royal Air force airlifted in 240 tonnes of UNHCR emergency supplies, including tents, plastic sheeting, stoves, and kitchen sets.

At lower elevations, UNHCR and its partners have dispatched emergency teams to camps to train members of the Pakistani military in site planning, camp management, winterization and the importance of water and sanitation – all crucial to containing disease during the long winter ahead.

By mid-November, UNHCR had provided a total of 19,356 tents, 152,325 blankets, 71,395 plastic sheets and tens of thousands of jerry cans, kitchen sets and other supplies. More of the agency's supplies are continuing to arrive in Pakistan on various airlifts, including a 103-flight joint NATO/UNHCR airlift from Turkey. Other UNHCR airlifts have brought in supplies from the agency's warehouses in Jordan, Dubai and Denmark.

Pakistan Earthquake: Major push to Bring in Aid before Winter

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.