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Pakistan: High Commissioner and Goodwill ambassador visit quake victims

Briefing notes

Pakistan: High Commissioner and Goodwill ambassador visit quake victims

25 November 2005

High Commissioner António Guterres is currently in Pakistan to express his solidarity with earthquake survivors and to discuss the future of Afghan refugees in the country.

Arriving in Islamabad yesterday morning, he flew off immediately for Muzaffarabad, one of the areas worst hit by the October 8 earthquake. There, he met the top official of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, as well as UN agencies and NGOs working with UNHCR in the area. He also visited Ghari Habibullah camp in Balakot, where he was briefed by the Pakistan military running the camp. Quake survivors living in the camp told him they were concerned about longer-term issues like reconstruction and education for their children. The High Commissioner reassured them that the international community would support the Pakistan government to help them back on their feet.

Mr. Guterres and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie held a joint press conference in Islamabad this morning. The High Commissioner then left to visit Katcha Gari camp in Peshawar, from where he will leave for Iran tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in Amman, another phase of the joint UNHCR/NATO airlift is drawing to a close with the fifth and last flight scheduled Saturday of an operation to fly 300,000 blankets to Pakistan. This will bring the number of blankets we sent to Pakistan to well over half a million (some 600,000). The joint UNHCR/NATO airlift from Incirlik, Copenhagen and Amman has totalled 109 flights, and has been absolutely vital in getting badly needed supplies of tents, blankets and other relief goods to earthquake survivors. Our thanks go once again, to all the NATO countries which have participated in this huge humanitarian effort.