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Pakistan: Afghan arrivals increasing

Briefing notes

Pakistan: Afghan arrivals increasing

12 January 2001

The number of Afghans arriving at a dismal makeshift camp in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province has jumped from around 250 to 750 a day over the past three days.

On Tuesday, UNHCR began moving the 18,000 new arrivals already in the Jalozai camp to a much better equipped camp nearby. By the end of Thursday, 15,000 had already been shifted in truck convoys to the New Shamashatoo II camp where UNHCR, WFP, the Pakistani government and several other agencies are providing them with shelter, food, water and other supplies. The transfer of refugees was expected to be completed by Saturday, although the sudden increase in new arrivals, if sustained, may result in a need to extend the operation. It is feared that many more refugees from fighting in northern Afghanistan may be on their way, as well as people fleeing the effects of the worst drought in living memory. Some of those arriving at Jalozai are exhausted and famished, after spending as much as a year as internally displaced inside Afghanistan. Many have travelled long distances through the mountains on foot. There are now a total of more than 60,000 new arrivals in Pakistan who are known to UNHCR. It is believed that as many as 40,000 more may have entered the country unmonitored, and have gone to live with relatives in cities or long-standing refugee camps.