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Pakistan: ICRC and Pakistan Red Crescent step up efforts in Hangu as more people flee fighting

14-04-2010 News Release 10/63

Islamabad (ICRC) – People fleeing recent fighting in Orakzai and Kurram agencies are arriving in the adjacent district of Hangu in urgent need of food, medicine and other items.

Hundreds of thousands have fled since last November and the movement has gained pace with the return of warmer weather. Accordingly, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society have started delivering food and other essentials, such as blankets, tarpaulins and jerrycans, to displaced people (IDPs) newly arrived in Hangu.

" Our priority is to reach those living outside relief camps, as approximately 95% of the displaced are hosted by local families or live in rented accommodation, " said Antje Ruckstuhl, in charge of ICRC activities in north-west Pakistan. " They need food and medicine right away, that much is clear. However, it is a challenge to estimate the scale of their needs. "

" The Pakistan Red Crescent is carrying out a door-to-door registration of displaced people; so far, over 122,000 individuals have been registered in 19 union councils of the district, " said Hamid-Ullah Mohmand, the Pakistan Red Crescent Hangu district secretary. " The Red Crescent has already completed two rounds of relief distribution to some 63,000 displaced people living outside camps since December 2009. "

The ICRC has donated emergency medicines to Thall District Hospital. An assessment is under way to determine which other health-care facilities could benefit from ICRC support. The organization is also trying to find ways of restoring contact between family members who have become separated from one another.

The ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent continue to work closely together to help victims of armed violence. Since January 2010, the organizations have jointly as sisted 350,000 victims of fighting in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and in north-west Pakistan. The ICRC commends the work of the Pakistan Red Crescent's recently established Hangu district branch, which has had to cope with the mass movement of displaced people from the moment it began operating.

  For further information, please contact:
  Simon Schorno, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02
  Mr Michael O'Brien, ICRC Islamabad: + 92 300 850 81 38