Nearly 190,000 displaced by fighting on Pakistan's border region of Bajaur
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, October 14 (UNHCR) - Some 190,000 people have been displaced from Pakistan's Bajaur agency bordering Afghanistan since fighting started in the hilly region in mid-August. This number includes more than 168,000 Pakistanis now sheltering in their country's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and above 20,000 Pakistanis and Afghans who fled into eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province.
The large majority of the displaced people are staying with host families on both sides of the border. UNHCR cannot access most of these areas for security reasons, and relies on government estimates.
In Pakistan, authorities say there are 168,463 internally displaced people (IDPs) in NWFP. The UN refugee agency cannot verify this figure as population movements are fluid and registration is continuing in the 10 official IDP camps.
Last Friday, UNHCR signed an agreement with the NWFP government to extend registration to IDPs living with host families. Once completed, the registration will give a clearer picture of the scale of displacement and the immediate needs.
"As the lead agency for emergency shelter, protection and camp management, UNHCR is trying to improve conditions in camps by providing urgent shelter and relief materials, as well as technical support to the government camp managers," said a UNHCR spokesman.
"We are helping to develop the former Afghan refugee village of Katcha Gari in Peshawar into a proper IDP camp with basic standards and services. So far, we've provided 900 tents, 750 plastic sheets, more than 2,200 blankets, nearly 1,500 jerry cans and 750 kitchen sets to the new arrivals at this camp. Other agencies are establishing latrines, washrooms and water tankers," he added.
Efforts are also under way to decongest overcrowded IDP sites. An additional site is being developed to host another 750 families at the former refugee village of Jalozai in Nowshera district, close to Peshawar.