UN refugee agency distributes tents to thousands of flood-hit Afghans in Pakistan

8 March 2005
These Afghan refugees were provided temporary shelter

The United Nations refugee agency has distributed 1,000 tents to 7,300 Afghan refugees made homeless by flooding in Pakistan's Balochistan region following weeks of snow and heavy rains that sent water and mud rushing down the barren mountainsides.

There are 12 camps for 300,000 Afghan refugees in Balochistan province and 40,000 of them are affected by the bad weather, with housing damaged and roads washed out, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing today in Geneva.

Severe winter conditions have forced the Government of Pakistan to extend the deadline for the completion of the census of Afghans living in the country. For the past two weeks, UNHCR has been assisting the Government in carrying out the first ever detailed census of Afghans in Pakistan.

At the moment, the agency estimates there are around 1.2 million Afghans in camps and an unknown number living in cities and villages. More than 2.3 million Afghans have returned home from Pakistan since the start of UNHCR's voluntary repatriation in spring 2002. The agency estimates that 400,000 Afghan refugees will return home during this year's repatriation season.


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