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Pakistan: Flood relief for Pakistan's refugee-hosting areas

Briefing notes

Pakistan: Flood relief for Pakistan's refugee-hosting areas

3 July 2007

In the wake of the cyclone that hit Pakistan's Balochistan province last week, UNHCR is part of a joint UN inter-agency effort to help the government with flood relief, particularly by providing shelter materials.

UNHCR is rushing 15 tons of emergency supplies to thousands of Afghan refugees and surrounding communities affected by the heavy rains and floods in south-western Balochistan province. Relief items are currently being airlifted from UNHCR stocks in Peshawar to Balochistan's capital Quetta, where we are basing our emergency operations for the refugee-hosting areas.

Initial reports suggest that some Afghan camps in the Chagai district of Balochistan have been hit by the floods. The district is home to more than 33,000 Afghans living in Chagai, Girdi Jungle, and Lejay Karez and Posti camps.

Despite continuing bad weather, UNHCR and its partners were able to travel to parts of Chagai district on Sunday. In one area, they found over 2,000 people - Afghans and local Pakistanis - in need of help. But it's difficult to get an overall view of the situation as the affected area is scattered and most villages can only be reached on foot due to the flooding. Many mud houses in the refugee-hosting areas have collapsed. Those that were still standing have huge cracks in the structure and are unsafe. Some families have moved their belongings out and are living in tents.

So far, we have distributed some 300 tents, 1,600 plastic mats and sheets, 1,000 blankets, 100 quilts and 150 kitchen sets in the Chagai area. We have also handed over some 600 tents, 1,100 plastic sheets and 450 blankets to the American Refugee Committee for distribution in the refugee-hosting area of Noushki, east of Chagai. More than 5,000 people are believed to be affected there.

Bad weather and damage to roads and other infrastructure are hindering UNHCR and its partners from getting a full picture of the situation and needs in refugee-hosting areas but missions will go as soon as possible to Balochistan's districts of Loralai and the outskirts of Quetta.

Meanwhile, the voluntary repatriation of Afghans from Pakistan's North West Frontier Province resumed on Monday after a temporary suspension last weekend due to flood-damaged bridges and roads.