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Pakistan: ICRC and Red Crescent step up emergency response to IDP crisis

29-05-2009 News Release 09/112

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) are expanding their operations to reach up to 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in north-west Pakistan.

Numbers are difficult to verify, but there are reported to be at least 2 million IDPs currently staying in camps and with host families in the region.

" In view of the considerable humanitarian needs, we have decided to significantly increase our efforts to help the displaced, " said Katharina Ritz, ICRC deputy head of operations for South Asia. " The ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society are particularly well placed to do this as they have been working in this area for several months. " The planned response includes the provision of emergency food and non-food aid and efforts to improve water, sanitation, and medical services. The ICRC and the PRCS will also expand their activities aimed at enabling separated families to re-establish contact.

The ICRC and the PRCS have invited Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to a meeting in Geneva on 5 June to discuss how best to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan. Meanwhile, the ICRC has begun deploying additional personnel to Pakistan where it currently has about 100 international and 700 Pakistani staff.

" In addition to conducting these relief operations, we will intensify our dialogue with all parties on the conduct of hostilities and other concerns related to the protection of civilians affected by the fighting, " added Ms Ritz. " The ICRC remains extremely concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the fighting in North-West Frontier Province, where the civilian population is once again bearing the brunt of the violence.”

For further information, please contact:
  Sitara Jabeen, ICRC Peshawar, tel: +92 300 850 56 93
  Sébastien Brack, ICRC Islamabad, tel: +92 300 850 81 38
  Simon Schorno, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 251 9302