2 July 2014 The ongoing Pakistani military offensive against militants in the North Waziristan tribal region has forced more than 75,000 people to flee their homes in the past two weeks, seeking shelter in neighbouring Afghanistan, the United Nations refugee agency said today.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners are working to coordinate relief efforts and deliver assistance, providing tents and other basic relief items to the most vulnerable.
“However, sanitation, clean drinking water and medical care are in short supply, and although local communities have generously welcomed the displaced, already scarce resources are now reaching capacity,” said UNHCR.
The agency stressed that humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to support the host communities in both Khost and Paktika provinces in sustaining the level of assistance they have been providing to displaced families.
UNHCR’s Country Representative in Afghanistan, Bo Schack, and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, Mark Bowden, visited the eastern province of Khost today along with Afghan Government officials to see first-hand the situation of thousands of Pakistanis who have arrived after fleeing the fighting in their homeland.
Since the cross-border movement beagn in mid-June, a number of UN agencies and their humanitarian partners have provided food and non-food items, vaccinated thousands of children against polio and measles and pre-positioned life-saving medicines for 10,000 patients, among a range of other relief activities.
“The agencies operating on the ground in Khost and Paktika provinces are launching an appeal to donors to support urgent and life-saving interventions,” said UNHCR.
“Overall, agencies will be requesting approximately $20 million for six months to deliver emergency and life-saving assistance to 10,000 families in Khost and 3,000 families in Paktika.”
In addition to those who have fled across the border, the Pakistani Government estimates that the latest fighting has left some 470,000 people internally displaced.
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