The build-up of humanitarian supplies continues in Pakistan's border areas
ISLAMABAD, 9 Oct. (UNHCR) - Despite a precarious security situation and logistical problems, a build-up of humanitarian supplies in Pakistan's border areas continued Tuesday. Though the frontier with Afghanistan remained officially closed, several hundred refugees continued to arrive daily.
In a related development, High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers flew to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar where he will address the foreign ministers meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference Wednesday on the humanitarian situation inside Afghanistan and surrounding countries.
By the end of Tuesday, UNHCR will have stockpiled 15,000 tents in its warehouse in the city of Peshawar, enough supplies to shelter up to 80,000 people. Tents, plastic sheets and blankets were being trucked daily from Peshawar to border crossing points.
Tents were also being trucked from the Pakistani city of Karachi and other suppliers to the southern city of Quetta, which currently has 4,000 tents out of the 20,000 needed to accommodate as many as 100,000 refugees.
Work on prospective campsites in Quetta and Peshawar areas was halted following violent demonstrations Monday in the two cities, which limited the freedom of movement of UNHCR international staff. Supplies continued to be moved during the disturbances by mostly local contractors.
Several hundred refugees per day continued to arrive in Pakistan via small mountain roads across the officially closed frontier. UNHCR border monitors thus far, however, have not reported any large groups of people gathering inside Afghanistan. Some reports suggested that the Taliban had increased its armed presence in the border region, possibly preventing civilians wishing to leave from doing so.
UNHCR has urged regional countries to keep their borders open and, in the event of a mass influx of Afghans, to provide temporary protection.