South Asia earthquake assistance from UNHCR
UNHCR has begun distribution of tonnes of urgently needed relief supplies for earthquake victims in Pakistan, sending family tents, hospital tents, plastic sheeting, mattresses, kitchen sets and other items from our warehouse in Peshawar. As we announced yesterday, we're initially distributing supplies for 100,000 people using existing stocks from our warehouses in Pakistan as well as elsewhere in the region.
The first truckloads of supplies left Peshawar yesterday for Mansehra in North West Frontier Province. We are now receiving reports that Afghan refugees are among the dead in the Mansehra district, where there are nearly 45,000 Afghan refugees in four camps in an area where entire villages have reportedly been flattened. Today a UNHCR doctor and field assistant left on mission to Mansehra to assess damage and needs in camps. More teams will follow once road conditions improve.
With 11 offices and more than 420 staff, UNHCR has emergency stockpiles available in Pakistan - from our warehouses in Peshawar and Quetta - and in neighbouring Afghanistan. But until roads can be repaired, we will need the help of helicopters to get aid to the most affected areas. North West Frontier Province (NWFP), one of the areas affected by the earthquake, hosts 887,000 Afghan refugees in several camps.
The High Commissioner has also asked UNHCR's emergency and logistics staff to look into the possibility of providing other supplies from our global relief stockpiles further afield, including in Dubai, Jordan, Copenhagen and elsewhere.
All of these supplies would need to be replenished quickly, however, so UNHCR can meet any other emergency demands and contingencies. This would mean additional funds would be needed from donors. UNHCR has worked in Pakistan for some 25 years and is currently involved in the repatriation of more than 3.5 million Afghan refugees.