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UNHCR seeks $17 million to help Pakistan's displaced people

Briefing notes

UNHCR seeks $17 million to help Pakistan's displaced people

23 September 2008

The UN refugee agency is appealing for more than US$17 million to help tens of thousands of people displaced by the conflict and floods in north-western Pakistan. We have urgently distributed supplies to some 84,000 affected people, and are supporting the authorities in the areas of emergency shelter, registration and camp management.

According to government figures, there are now an estimated 90,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) due to the ongoing fighting in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Another 90,000 are believed to be displaced in Swat in northern NWFP, based on a recent government assessment. In addition, some 84,000 people were displaced by floods in August.

The numbers are fluid as people come and go from their villages, but they are expected to increase as the conflict intensifies.

UNHCR is the lead agency for shelter, camp management and protection under the UN response to this humanitarian emergency.

About 28,000 IDPs are living in nine official government camps in NWFP. UNHCR has trained the authorities on how to register them in order to establish a profile of the displaced population and identify those with special needs, such as unaccompanied children, female-headed households or the elderly. Registration started yesterday (Monday 22 Sept) in the accessible camps. The majority of IDPs, who live with host families, will be registered after the Eid holidays in early October.

Many of the official camps are located in government schools and lack proper facilities to accommodate the IDPs. The government has identified the former Afghan refugee village of Katcha Gari in Peshawar as an alternative site. Site planning is underway to set up the necessary facilities, including shelter, water and sanitation facilities, education and health care.

At the outset of the emergency last month, UNHCR had emptied its warehouse in Peshawar and distributed tents, plastic sheets, blankets and kitchen sets to 12,000 affected families or some 84,000 individuals. We are now replenishing our stocks and preparing to distribute more relief items to the IDPs.

To meet these needs, UNHCR has appealed for $17.2 million under the UN's $54-million humanitarian response plan for the situation in Pakistan. The UNHCR budget covers the provision of non-food relief items to 310,000 displaced people, registration, site planning and development, as well as camp management, community services and initial winterisation in the camps. The UN appeal will be revised and adjusted based on the needs on the ground.