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Pakistan flood displaced need shelter as more rains hit northwest Pakistan

Briefing notes

Pakistan flood displaced need shelter as more rains hit northwest Pakistan

3 August 2010

UNHCR, as part of a coordinated UN response, is stepping up its assistance to provide shelter to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the worst floods and landslides northwest Pakistan has seen in decades.

We have already delivered some 10,000 tents with other relief supplies through the local authorities in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - the two worst hit provinces. As more tents are being distributed, UNHCR is urgently procuring some 20,000 additional tents from suppliers in Pakistan. We are working to reach at least 250,000 of the most vunerable with our shelter and "non-food items", including blankets, jerry cans, buckets, plastic sheets and kitchen sets.

Our staff on the ground report that new rains have started falling this morning. With August being the traditional month of the monsoon, more rains are expected.

The majority of the flood-hit displaced are crammed into public buildings, including schools and colleges. Among them are thousands of Afghan refugees and displaced Pakistanis who have suddenly lost their homes for the second time.

"Those who survived these punishing floods are still at grave risk. They are exposed and vulnerable and urgently need our help." UNHCR High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said. "The Pakistani people of this region have been serving as the generous hosts of more than a million Afghan refugees. Now is the time for the international community to demonstrate the same kind of solidarity with them."

The previous week's rains caused major damage to infrastructure, including roads and scores of bridges, cutting off heavily affected areas and shattering the communications system, which impedes access to the flood-hit zones of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly known as North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

The floods were triggered by torrential monsoon rains and are the worst in the country's history. Charsadda, Nowshwera, Swat and Shangla districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are the hardest hit areas.

With their host communities, four Afghan refugees have also been affected by the floods. Refugee villages of Munda, Hajizai, Utmanzai and Azakheil in Charsadda, Peshawar and Nowshera districts have been badly damaged by the floods, where around 10,000 refugee families are residing.

Today, UNHCR is distributing emergency relief items to 1,000 families who have lost their houses in Hajizai refugee village and are compelled to live in the open.

Last week, UNHCR also launched a response to support the authorities to help the people affected by the floods in Balochistan province. The local authorities in Balochistan distributed relief items provided by UNHCR, which included 2,000 tents, 2,700 plastic sheets, 2,200 kitchen sets and 4,000 plastic mats. These items were distributed in the affected villages of Tali and Sultan Kot in Sibi district where an estimated 2,030 houses have been completely destroyed in the torrential rains and consequent flooding.

In order to cover this new emergency, additional funds are urgently needed.