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Pakistan: Aid for displaced families in Northern Areas

05-12-2002 News Release 02/49

On 1 and 2 December the ICRC distributed aid to displaced people living in three camps near the city of Skardu, in Pakistan's Northern Areas.

The aid, consisting of blankets, shawls, quilts, soap, kitchen utensils, stoves and kerosene, was handed out to 291 families (some 1,700 individuals) in the presence of local and regional officials.

 
ICRC/C. MehlPhoto  
  ICRC/C. MehlPhoto    
 

The displaced people had left their villages along the line of control in May owing to continuous shelling. They had found temporary shelter nearby but had been forced to move on again in October when the temperatures soared in this area situated at an altitude of over 3,000 metres. After their arrival in Skardu, they were temporarily housed in tents. The provincial authorities have now committed themselves, following discussions with the ICRC, to resettling the families either with local residents or in empty buildings around the city. They will also cover their daily needs in terms of food and kerosene.

" This distribution was especially crucial as the temperatures are now falling be low zero " , said Muhammad Ali, an elder from one of the affected villages in the Gultari sector. " We hope that the authorities will live up to their promise to find us houses until the spring, when, if all goes well, we can return to our villages " .

The delivery of aid was delayed for a week owing to landslides that cut off the Karakorum highway leading to Skardu after an earthquake, followed by numerous aftershocks, hit the Astore region on 21 November. The ICRC trucks carrying the aid were the first to be allowed to use the road again once it had been cleared.

 
 

 Further information: Fred Grimm, ICRC Islamabad, tel.: ++9251 282 47 80