UNHCR steps up assistance to Pakistan flood victims

Briefing Notes, 20 September 2011

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 20 September 2011, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR teams are distributing tents and other emergency aid to families displaced by severe flooding in Pakistan. More than five million people have been affected by this year's floods and government estimates put the number of families in urgent need of emergency shelter at over 200,000.

In southern Sindh province, which has been particularly hard hit, UNHCR has delivered 2,000 tents and 2,000 kits containing jerry cans, blankets and sleeping mats as well as 4,000 plastic sheets to be used for basic shelter. Many of the families displaced by the floods continue to live in makeshift shelters.

The distribution of the emergency supplies has so far focused on the southernmost districts of Badin and Thatta, with 1,000 tents, 1,000 non-food kits and 2,000 plastic sheets going to each location.

Eight thousand more tents, as well as non-food kits and plastic sheets are currently being trucked from UNHCR's warehouse in Peshawar in north-western Pakistan. The journey can take several days. The supplies are headed to the districts of Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Tando Allah Yar and Tando Muhammad Khan in Sindh. UNHCR field staff describe these areas as being under water.

In Badin and Thatta UNHCR has been working with its partner agency the National Rural Support Program (NRSP), a Pakistani aid group, which is delivering the items and establishing small tent villages of less than 100 families. The scarcity of dry land on which to pitch the tents remains a challenge. Families our staff have spoken to say they prefer to stay near their livestock. Since Sunday about 1,000 tents and non-food kits have been distributed.

On behalf of the Protection Thematic Working Group, UNHCR recently led a rapid protection assessment in Sindh province. Focus group discussions were conducted with nearly 6,000 women, men, girls and boys, as well with community leaders and local authorities. A similar assessment will start this week in Balochistan.

The assessment report for Sindh reveals difficulties in accessing assistance faced by vulnerable groups such as female-headed households, disabled persons and minorities. There are also problems of child/family separation, missing family members, loss of civil documentation, such as national identity cards, which may hinder access to some types of assistance. The findings also reveal a rise in and exacerbation of existing protection problems such as domestic violence, child labour and exploitation.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Emergency Response

UNHCR is committed to increasing its ability to respond to complex emergency situations.

UNHCR in Dubai: First Line Responder in Emergencies

Information brochure about UNHCR's Global Emergency Stockpile located in Dubai.

Emergency in Timor-Leste pt.3: UNHCR's Air and Sea Relief Delivery Operation

Rushing emergency relief supplies to tens of thousands of displaced people in the strife-hit Timor-Leste has been a top priority for the UN refugee agency.

On Monday, the first phase of the air and sea operation ferrying in 200 metric tonnes of tents, blankets, plastic sheeting and kitchen sets, was completed.

Last week four Antonov-12 flights flew in 56 tonnes of supplies, and on Monday 12 June, a freighter crossed the Timor Sea from Darwin, loaded with 150 tonnes of supplies, flown in earlier from UNHCR's regional Middle East stockpiles in Jordan to the northern Australian city. There are now shelter supplies on the ground for some 17,000 people.

Working closely with partners on the ground, UNHCR's emergency team is already improving living conditions at the crowded, unsanitary makeshift camps around the capital Dili, and starting to establish planned camps.

Security is still a major concern for the displaced, traumatised by the house burning, looting and violence. UNHCR urgently needs US$4.8 million for its Timor-Leste emergency operation.

Emergency in Timor-Leste pt.3: UNHCR's Air and Sea Relief Delivery Operation

Emergency in Timor-Leste pt.5: The Emergency Operation Reaches Out

In mid-June UNHCR extended its emergency relief operation in Timor-Leste to include tens of thousands of people who fled violence in the capital Dili for districts in the countryside. An estimated 79,000 displaced people are in outlying districts with some 72,000 displaced in Dili.

The UN refugee agency has delivered shelter materials and emergency supplies to easterners and westerners in Hera village, 25 kilometres to the east of Dili. Most of the inhabitants of Hera are westerners and have fled their homes and taken to the hills. A smaller group of easterners have moved to the safety of a fenced naval compound, where they have been joined by easterners who fled Dili. UNHCR has also delivered shelter materials to Metinaro, 40 minutes outside of Dili, as well as to Auturo Island.

Despite sporadic violence, UNHCR continues to help the displaced who say they are still too scared to return to their homes and will wait in temporary shelters until the crisis ends.

Emergency in Timor-Leste pt.5: The Emergency Operation Reaches Out

Emergency in Timor-Leste pt.1: Recent Violence

June 2006

Recent violence in Timor-Leste has displaced about 100,000 people, with 65,000 sheltering in 40 squalid encampments in the capital, Dili, and a further 35,000 taking refuge in the countryside. A UNHCR assessment team visited the makeshift camps in Dili end May and reported the most critical humanitarian needs, aside from security, were food, clean water and shelter.

In a phased response to the crisis and as part of a joint UN effort, UNHCR deployed an emergency team to reinforce staff on the ground and is now airlifting in urgently needed supplies for some 30,000 displaced. The first flight, which arrived in Dili on June 5, brought 14 tonnes of lightweight family tents, plastic sheets and jerry cans from UNHCR stockpiles in Jordan.

UNHCR and its partners will use these items to establish new, planned camps for the displaced, where they can live in better conditions and assistance will be easier to deliver, until the security situation improves and they can return to their homes.

Emergency in Timor-Leste pt.1: Recent Violence

Jordan: UNIQLO DistributionPlay video

Jordan: UNIQLO Distribution

Japanese retailer UNIQLO has begun a campaign at Za'atri refugee camp to provide winter clothing for up to 25,000 households living there. The project is done in conjunction with UNHCR and the Japanese Emergency NGO.
UN Appeals for Syria OperationsPlay video

UN Appeals for Syria Operations

Faced with the prospect of a worsening situation inside Syria and growing numbers of refugees in 2014, UN agencies on Monday December 16, 2013 appealed to donors for US$6.5 billion in funds – the biggest amount so far requested for a single humanitarian emergency.
Philippines: Devastated Tacloban CityPlay video

Philippines: Devastated Tacloban City

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8-9th. Among the hardest hit areas are Tacloban, Ormoc and Guiuan. UNHCR is distributing emergency relief items in and around Tacloban and estimates having reached approximately 15,000 people so far.