Pakistan: 11 weeks on from the first floods, acute problems still remain
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 5 October 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
It has been eleven weeks since the first floods struck Pakistan. Although international attention has now largely moved on from the crisis there, the situation still remains critically difficult in some areas and for some populations, including those who fall under UNHCR's traditional areas of concern.
In Sindh province, in the south, flooding is still happening. Since mid-August floods there have to varying degrees affected almost a third of the province's 30.4 million residents, and around 1.6 million people are still displaced. Manchar Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in Pakistan and lies in western Sindh, has overflowed in the past two weeks creating further displacement and new pressures on already overcrowded camps. UNHCR has assisted some 192,800 displaced persons in Sindh with tents, plastic sheeting, and other relief items.
Most of UNHCR's core populations of concern, the 1.7 million refugees and 1.1 million conflict-displaced, are in other regions of Pakistan - namely Baluchistan and Khyber Phaktunkhwa. Nonetheless, they too have been affected by the flooding and by the diversion of resources to the wider flood-affected population. Mengesha Kebede is UNHCR's representative in Islamabad. Some of you will know him from the frequent interviews he's given to world media over the past two months. He is with us this morning to brief you on the situation that we are still up against.