More than 100,000 flee fighting in Northwestern Pakistan this year

Briefing Notes, 30 March 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 30 March 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

As part of an interagency humanitarian response, UNHCR is assisting thousands of families in Pakistan who have fled fighting in a parts of the country's Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), which borders Afghanistan.

An estimated 101,160 people, mostly women and children, have become displaced since 20 January when Government troops began security operations against militant groups in the Khyber Agency region. A recent increase in the intensity of the fighting is driving even larger numbers of families flee the region to the safety of the Jalozai camp, where UNHCR is registering them and providing them with basic humanitarian supplies. A partner UN agency, the World Food Programme, is providing food aid. Jalozai is located near the western city of Peshawar in Kyhber Pakhtunkhwa province, formally known the Northwest Frontier Province.

New arrivals say that they left their homes because of the proximity of fighting and due to instructions by the authorities to evacuate the area. Systems are in place to identify vulnerable families and individuals and to identify special needs and to prioritize them in the process of registration, tent allocation and provision of humanitarian assistance.

On a single day this week, Wednesday, UNHCR registered a total of 1,721 families or 7,054 individuals. The average since 17 March has been nearly 2,000 families each day. The vast majority opt to live outside the camp with host families. For example, of those registered in the Wednesday group, just 515 of the 7,054 chose to live in the camp.

All of those registered were provided with UNHCR aid package, a UNICEF hygiene kit and an initial one-month food supply. The number of people living in Jalozai now stands at 62,818 people of which 47,134 were living in the camp before March 17. This is now the largest IDP camp in Pakistan.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Islamabad, Pakistan: Tim Irwin on mobile +92 300 815 3692
  • In Geneva: Babar Baloch on mobile +41 79 557 9106
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