Greater donor help needed to assist displaced Pakistanis – UN envoy

22 June 2009

A top United Nations humanitarian envoy wrapped up a two-day visit to north-west Pakistan today, calling on donors to step up their assistance to help the millions of people who have been uprooted from their homes by fighting between Government forces and militants.

The situation in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) is “unprecedented, both in terms of the speed and scale of displacement,” said Abdul Aziz Arrukban, the Secretary-General’s Special Humanitarian Envoy.

Some two million people have been displaced by clashes in the region since last August, according to the UN.

During his fact-finding mission, Mr. Arrukban visited Mardan district, where most of the people who fled Swat and Buner are taking refuge. While there, he stopped at a camp, which is a girls’ high school currently sheltering internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as a distribution centre for relief items.

Most of the displaced are living with host communities, and he pointed out that the healthcare, sanitation and water systems in these areas “are under enormous strain.”

Dozens of hubs distributing food, mobile health teams and fixed health centres have been established, as agencies have been endeavouring to improve conditions within camps.

“The humanitarian community is making a valiant effort to reach those in need, but they will not be able to sustain their activities unless they receive greater support from donors,” Mr. Arrukban said, calling in particular on the member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to increase their assistance to Pakistan.

To date, nearly 40 per cent of the $532 million Humanitarian Response Plan for Pakistan has been funded.

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

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.