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Pakistan: Five things you need to know

07 May 2014


Displaced children in Jalozai IDP camp in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Credit: OCHA Pakistan/Dan Teng’o
Insecurity, displacement, recurrent disasters continue to affect millions of people.

As the UN Deputy Humanitarian Chief, Kyung-wha Kang, undertakes her first mission to Pakistan this week, here are five facts about the humanitarian situation in the country, where insecurity, natural disasters and displacement continue to affect millions of people.

1. A Chronic cycle of insecurity continues to displace many families. Since July 2008, insecurity, including insurgency and military operations, in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in northwest Pakistan, has led to major population displacement. Today over a million people are displaced and need humanitarian aid. Many of them have been displaced over and over again. An estimated 5 per cent of the displaced people live in three camps, while the rest stay with host families in the area, often stretching the resources available in the community.

2.Pakistan is also home to some 1.6 million Afghan refugees, most of whom fled to Pakistan over three decades ago when conflict broke out in Afghanistan in 1979. The UN is working with the Government of Pakistan to ensure that the refugees receive the assistance that they need as well as help to return home if they choose to.  

3. Many regions are seriously prone to disasters.Over 30 million people have been affected by monsoon flooding since 2010, many of them several times. In 2010 alone some 18 million people in 78 districts across Pakistan were affected by floods.

OCHA is working with humanitarian partners to support the Government’s efforts to prepare for and respond to disasters by mapping relief stocks in case they are needed for a possible response, developing assessment tools and strengthening the capacity of first responders in vulnerable districts.

Over 1,000 Government and NGO officials in disaster-prone districts have been trained in disaster management in the past two years, through a joint UN-Government capacity-building project.

4. Pakistan is one of three countries in the world with endemic polio. The World Health Organization reports that there are only three polio-endemic countries in the world - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Despite efforts by the Government and the UN, there has been an alarming surge in polio cases in 2014 with an estimated 50 new polio cases confirmed so far, compared with 6 for the same period in 2013. Over 80 per cent of these cases are in FATA, which is largely inaccessible to polio eradication teams because of insecurity.

5. Half of the population doesn’t have enough to eat. An estimated 58 per cent of Pakistan’s population is food-insecure. Some 44 percent of children under five are chronically malnourished and require urgent nutritional assistance. In Tharpakar in Sindh Province, poor rains, underdevelopment and limited access to health care have left 130,000 children desperately in need of nutrition support. Humanitarian partners have appealed for $12 million to scale up efforts to tackle malnutrition in the area this year but have not received any funds so far. Aid organizations have been diverting funds from other aid programmes to try and meet needs in Tharparkar.

OCHA Pakistan>>