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UN seeks over $17 M to help Pakistanis affected by conflict, drought

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New York: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is appealing for more than $17 million to help tens of thousands of people displaced by the conflict and floods in north-western Pakistan. According to government figures, there are now an estimated 90,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) due to the ongoing fighting in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Another 90,000 are believed to be displaced in Swat in northern NWFP, based on a recent government assessment. In addition, some 84,000 people were displaced by floods in August. “The numbers are fluid as people come and go from their villages, but they are expected to increase as the conflict intensifies,” UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told reporters in Geneva.

UNHCR is the lead agency for shelter, camp management and protection under the UN response to the humanitarian emergency in Pakistan. “We have urgently distributed supplies to some 84,000 affected people, and are supporting the authorities in the areas of emergency shelter, registration and camp management,” Mr. Spindler said.

Last month, UNHCR emptied its warehouse in Peshawar and distributed tents, plastic sheets, blankets and kitchen sets to 12,000 affected families or some 84,000 individuals. “We are now replenishing our stocks and preparing to distribute more relief items to the IDPs,” Mr. Spindler noted.

UNHCR’s $17.2 million appeal is part of the UN’s $54 million humanitarian response plan for the situation in Pakistan, and covers the provision of non-food relief items to 310,000 displaced people, registration, site planning and development, as well as camp management, community services and initial winterisation in the camps.-UN News Service

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