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UNHCR says new makeshift sites for flood victims 'mushroom' across Pakistan's Sindh

Briefing notes

UNHCR says new makeshift sites for flood victims 'mushroom' across Pakistan's Sindh

24 August 2010

Floods have been spreading into new areas of southern Pakistan over the past days resulting in a 'mushrooming' of encampments across Sindh province. Our field staff report that some 700,000 displaced people are living in 1,800 settlements - many of these located in schools or colleges or in the few camps set up by the government. UNHCR is distributing tents and other relief items and providing technical advice to local officials on camp management and camp coordination issues.

In Sindh's Thatta district, where dozens of towns and villages have been flooded, a further 150,000 people fled from Kukkar over the weekend. A new warning has been issued for Shahdadkot, where floodwaters are pouring out of breaches in the Tori and Begari Canals threatening to submerge parts of the town which has a population of 400,000 people.

About 80 percent of the area around Jacobabad in Sindh is under three-to-five feet of water. Water is moving west towards neighbouring Balochistan. Most of the population of Jacobabad has left, but there are still 10,000 to 15,000 people who are staying to protect their properties. The authorities estimate that around 3.6 million people are now homeless in the province, with numbers expected to rise as the flood waters continue south.

In Balochistan, people are taking shelter on the rooftops of Gandhaka in Jaffarabad after more high tides hit the area. A further 33,000 people are reported to have moved into the area from Sindh in recent days adding to the existing one million displaced and flood affected people in the province. UNHCR has so far sent relief items to three worst affected districts of Sibi, Jaffarabad, and Nasirabad. More UNHCR aid has reached the province in recent days with the arrival of another 720 tents.

In light of these needs UNHCR is today revising upwards the funding it is seeking to $120 million from $41 million previously. These funds will enable UNHCR to provide emergency shelter and assistance to some two million most vulnerable flood victims for the next four months.