Afghanistan Emergency Update
“IRC staff along the Afghan border report that thousands of Afghan civilians are pouring into Pakistan every day now at unofficial crossings and that the physical condition of new arrivals is deteriorating,” says Sigurd Hanson, who oversees the IRC’s humanitarian aid programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan. “It’s a race against time now. We have to get food to the malnourished and shelter materials and blankets to the displaced in Afghanistan in order to avert spiraling deaths from starvation and exposure in the winter months.”
Many of the new arrivals in Pakistan are finding shelter with family members already living in refugee settlements scattered across the frontier province. But Hanson says it’s urgent to ready new camps with adequate food, water supply, health services and shelter to accommodate new influxes.
The now weekly demonstrations in Pakistan against the U.S. military campaign and the attacks on and looting of food warehouses in Afghanistan are hampering the efforts of aid organizations to provide humanitarian assistance. But the IRC is continuing to deliver desperately needed services, whenever and wherever it can.The looting and torching of the IRC’s health complex in Hangu, Pakistan last week forced the closure of the facility, which provides comprehensive health services to nearly 200,000 Afghan refugees in the region. But our mobile health clinics are continuing their work while plans are underway to relocate the health complex.