UN reaches 2 million hungry people in Pakistan

WFP supplied 2 million people in Pakistan with food in February 2010 alone

5 March 2010 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has supplied 2 million people in Pakistan with food in February alone, it was reported today.

This latest round of distributions is set to wrap up this week, and will be the last free supplies for many people returning to the northern areas of Swat and Buner, the scene of heavy fighting last year between Government forces and militants, in North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

WFP will introduce several early recovery activities in return areas this month focusing on supporting education and health systems.

Food distribution for families identified as displaced from South Waziristan, which also witnessed heavy fighting, kicked off this week.

In the Jalozai camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in NWFP, winterization packages – including tents and sweaters – continue to be handed out.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today that some 2,000 people in Kohistan, part of NWFP, need humanitarian assistance following a deadly avalanche last month which claimed at least 50 lives.

Some areas remain cut off after the disaster, and access to those in need is possible only by air since heavy rainfall has triggered additional landslides, further blocking roads. Pakistan’s Provincial Disaster Management Authority, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and volunteers are providing relief assistance to the affected population.

For its part, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is providing water to more than 4,200 IDPs sheltering in Kohat, also in NWFP, as well as improving sanitation through the installation of toilets, water tankers and pumps.

OCHA cautioned that funding for this year’s humanitarian response plan for Pakistan is low, with resources urgently needed to continue providing assistance in NWFP and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) for the next six months.

Just over 1 per cent of the $537 million appealed for in the Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2010, put together by the Government, UN agencies, NGOs and other aid actors, has been funded.

Last month, the top UN humanitarian official in the country called on the international community not to forget the vulnerable civilians displaced in the country’s northwest.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan Martin Mogwanja urged the international donor community “to keep up their invaluable contributions to enable the humanitarians to continue assisting the people in need in Pakistan.”

A total of 3.1 million people from NWFP and FATA were displaced in 2009 due to conflict. The funds sought for the response plan will not only respond to the needs of the IDPs, but also support those who have returned to their places of origin, those who never left and the families who opened up their homes to host the displaced.


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