Afghan authorities register over 6,000 refugees fleeing clashes in Pakistan's North Waziristan region
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
In Afghanistan, UNHCR is helping authorities in the eastern province of Khost to register and assist people fleeing the current offensive across the border by Pakistan's military against Taliban militants in North Waziristan Agency, in the tribal regions of Pakistan.
Some 6,452 people from Pakistan have fled North Waziristan into the eastern parts of Afghanistan, mostly arriving in the districts of Gurboz, Khost (Matun), Tanni, Nadir Shah Kot and Mando Zai in Khost province.
The newly arrived women, men and children have trekked the mountainous terrains across Pakistan's border to seek safety. People are being accommodated with local Afghan communities for now. However, Afghan hosting communities have limited absorption capacity and resources. The urgent needs include shelter, clean drinking water and sanitation.
UNHCR is concerned that families close to conflict-affected areas will be further exposed to violence and humanitarian access could be limited.
As an immediate response, UNHCR is providing tents and other basic relief items to the most vulnerable, while our partner agency the World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed food assistance, including sugar, rice, tea, beans and salt. Further joint assessments on the needs of the latest arrivals are being conducted with the provincial directorate of the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, WFP and other partners to assess urgent humanitarian needs.
Inside Pakistan, the government has confirmed that over 101,000 people have been displaced internally from North Waziristan into the Banu, Dera Ismail Khan and Tank areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. As part of an UN inter-agency response, in support of the government, UNHCR is ready to assist the displaced population inside Pakistan.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
In Kabul, Mohammad Nader Farhad on mobile +93 791 99 00 18
In Geneva, Adrian Edwards on mobile +41 79 557 9120
In Geneva, Babar Baloch on mobile +41 79 557 9106