Fighting may displace over 600,000 in Pakistan: UN
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is expanding its relief operation to assist those fleeing fighting, which the world body estimates currently stands at 450,000 people, but could climb to 600,000 shortly, in north west Pakistan, the UN agency said.
Last weekend, the first in a series of UN convoys took urgently needed supplies to Mingora, in Swat Valley, where hostilities between the army and militants are escalating, a press release issued at UN Headquarters in New York said. Further deliveries this week will bring supplies, including blankets, plastic sheets, buckets and other items from UNHCR, for an initial 3,000 families.
Fierce fighting in Pakistan’s border area with Afghanistan could soon drive more than 600,000 people from their homes, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday.
Spokesman Ron Redmond said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees would ramp up its relief work in north-western Pakistan.
'Latest estimates put the number of displaced people in the region at around 450,000, but the UN believes more than 600,000 could be displaced within weeks,' he told a news briefing.
Trucks carrying blankets, buckets, plastic sheeting, soap and kitchen sets have been deployed to the region to help an initial 3,000 families, and UN-run camps in the area will be expanded to provide shelter to more people.
'The UNHCR is encouraged by the safe arrival and return of the first UN convoy of supplies to this dangerous region of Pakistan where curfews and general insecurity hamper relief efforts,' the spokesman said.
He said the UNHCR had no news about the fate of the American head of its office in Quetta, John Solecki, who was kidnapped last week after gunmen ambushed his car and shot dead his driver.