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Pakistan: persistent lack of security affects people's daily lives

20-01-2011 News Release 11/09

Geneva/Islamabad (ICRC) – Security concerns continue to plague everyday life for most Pakistanis and to affect humanitarian activities. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society are pressing ahead with their efforts to help people all over the country whose lives have been disrupted.

People displaced by the fighting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North-West Frontier Province) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, including those who have commenced the process of returning to their homes in Orakzai Agency and South Waziristan, are still in need of assistance.

In addition to bringing aid to flood victims, the ICRC has provided more than two million one-month food rations over the past 10 months for people displaced by fighting and has also vigorously engaged in many other humanitarian activities. "We have been doing more than merely providing food aid," said Pascal Cuttat, the head of the ICRC delegation in Islamabad. "The ICRC surgical hospital for weapon-wounded patients in Peshawar has been operating at close to full capacity for several months. In 2010 it admitted more than 1,000 patients and performed more than 3,800 surgical procedures." Patients with serious weapon-related injuries are frequently referred to the hospital, which is staffed by highly experienced Pakistani and international surgeons.

ICRC water engineers working in remote Bekhane village, in Buner district in the north-west of the country, have commenced restoration of a hydro-electric power station that is the sole generating facility in the region. In other districts, ICRC engineers are repairing water storage and filtration equipment that more than 30,000 local residents rely on for clean drinking water. The ICRC is also delivering drinking water to a camp for displaced people (IDPs) in remote Upper Dir. "The ICRC remains committed to operating in a transparent manner to make sure it maintains the access required to bring aid to all victims of armed violence who need it," said Mr Cuttat.

Nearly six months after monsoon rains caused severe flooding across much of the country, people are trying to rebuild their shattered lives. In parts of the province of Sindh, progress can be painfully slow. Tens of thousands of northern Sindh residents live in a squalid, watery wasteland where stagnant floodwaters still covering fields are a serious health concern and make subsistence cropping impossible. Staff from the ICRC office in Jacobabad, working together with the Pakistan Red Crescent, have given one-month food rations to nearly 280,000 people in the province, where the ICRC will continue to provide relief for the foreseeable future.

By the end of December, the ICRC had provided one-month food rations and hygiene, household and shelter items for a total of almost 2.3 million people throughout Pakistan afflicted by fighting or flooding. In addition, it had provided direct support for a further 250,000 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, enabling them to plant winter cereal crops. The green tinge of early winter wheat crops now covering much of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa farmland holds out the hope that a recovery is finally under way.

For further information, please contact:
Michael O'Brien, ICRC Islamabad, tel: +92 300 850 8138
Sitara Jabeen, ICRC Peshawar, tel: +92 300 850 56 93
Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02


Photos

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Lower Dir district, village of Kamala. Workers unload seed, fertilizer and tools to be distributed by the ICRC to farmers who lost their harvests to the floods. 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Lower Dir district, village of Kamala. Local people unload seed, fertilizer and tools to be distributed by the ICRC to farmers who lost their harvests to the floods.
© ICRC / D. Revol / pk-e-01010

North-West Frontier Province, Peshawar surgical hospital. A 32 year old man receives treatment for bullet wound to his left shoulder and arm. 

North-West Frontier Province, Peshawar surgical hospital. A 32 year old man receives treatment for bullet wound to his left shoulder and arm.
© ICRC / J. Tanner / v-p-pk-e-00721