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Pakistan humanitarian update

Briefing notes

Pakistan humanitarian update

29 May 2009

As the humanitarian situation continues in north-west Pakistan, UNHCR this week stepped up its assistance to displaced people living outside of camps with the local community, where the vast majority of the uprooted people are staying.

In partnership with our sister agency, UN-HABITAT, we are providing shelter supplies to some of the most vulnerable families in Mardan and Swabi districts of the North West Frontier Province. Distribution began this week of the first batch of 5,000 tents for the most vulnerable families identified by UN-HABITAT in the two districts. Many local families have seen their households double or triple overnight as they provide refuge to the displaced. The tents can be pitched in the grounds of the houses to help alleviate crowded conditions. Meanwhile, UN-HABITAT is also providing hygiene kits and latrines to households, supporting minor repairs to shelters and boundary walls, and helping with the emergency repair of community facilities such as hand pumps and sanitation in local mosques.

At humanitarian hubs in Mardan and Swabi districts, UNHCR is also distributing other relief supplies such as plastic mats, buckets, jerry cans and kitchen sets to displaced people staying with host families through our local NGO partner Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP). At the same time, people receive food rations from the World Food Programme (WFP). UNHCR is also providing assistance to displaced people staying in schools in the Mardan and Swabi districts.

In the camps, relatively small numbers of families are arriving in Jalala, Sheikh Shahzad and Sheikh Yaseen camps in Mardan. As these camps are full, the new arrivals are moved to Yar Hussein camp in Swabi. Some families say they were given only an hour to leave their homes and have no information about family members they left behind in their villages. They also talk about food and medicine shortages for the people still stranded in their home areas

In camps, we have distributed sun screen material to our NGO partner, IDRAK, for installation above tents to provide at least some shade. IDRAK is providing the bamboo poles and tool kits for families so they can assemble the shade structures themselves.

Together with local authorities and our partners, UNHCR has identified two potential sites for new camps in Charsadda and Nowshera districts. We have just received the green light from the authorities to start the development of the site in Charsadda.

On registration, the fast-track registration data is currently being cross-checked and verified by the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) and we expect to be able to confirm updated registration figures early next week. On Tuesday, you will recall the registered figure we had from provincial authorities was around 2.4 million (more than 300,000 families), and that we were moving into a second-stage process of cross-checking and verification.