Aid agencies boosting support for Pakistan’s displaced, reports UN

18 June 2009

International and local humanitarian aid groups have ramped up their efforts to support the 2.5 million people forced to flee their homes by the violent conflict in north-western Pakistan, United Nations spokesperson Michele Montas said today.

The vast majority of those displaced in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) by a Government offensive against militants in Swat have found refuge within the local community, Ms. Montas told reporters in New York.

Martin Mogwanja, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan, said that the people “who have sheltered their friends and family during this time of crisis have shown enormous generosity and helped to save countless lives.

“However, the strain is beginning to show and these communities need all the support that the international community can provide,” added Mr. Mogwanja.

Since early May, over 47,000 tons of food has been shipped to the region and delivered to the most vulnerable families. Aid agencies have also distributed thousands of shelter and non-food items in camps as well as to host communities in an effort to alleviate some of the crowding and discomfort.

Health workers have raised concern over the surge in the numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the approaching monsoon season which heightens the risk of communicable diseases. They have containment measures in place to prevent an epidemic in host communities.

In addition, some 3,600 pregnant and lactating women have been diagnosed as moderately acute malnourished and have received supplementary feeding.

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