19 June 2009
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Red Cross Movement currently only aid agency operating in Swat Valley
The British Red Cross has launched an urgent appeal to help civilians who have fled their homes and those still trapped as a result of the fighting in Pakistan’s northwest frontier province.
Ros Armitage, British Red Cross conflict operations manager, said:
“The monsoon season begins in July, and here we have a situation where thousands upon thousands of people are living in tents, or shelters made from whatever materials they can lay their hands on.
“The money raised through the new appeal will help the Red Cross Movement provide food, basic household items and critical medical services, not only to those in camps but also to the civilian population trapped in areas no other agencies are reaching.”
The appeal will support the work of the Red Cross Movement, currently the only humanitarian agency able to operate in the Swat Valley and Lower Dir regions, which needs an extra £37 million to step up its operation to help people displaced or trapped by the fighting.
As the conflict continues in these regions many thousands of people have joined the 2.5 million who have already left their homes, often with the bare minimum of belongings. Some camps are now at capacity, forcing new arrivals to pitch tents or makeshift shelters along roadsides or on any available land.
The ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and the Pakistan Red Crescent have begun distributing food to about 47,000 people in Mingora, the main town in Swat valley.
Gerry Robertson, the delegate in charge of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) assistance programme in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP)
"The civilians who stayed behind in Swat during these last weeks have been mostly confined to their homes. They are short of everything and will need help until the situation stabilizes”.
Money raised by the British Red Cross appeal will go straight to supporting the work of the Red Cross Movement in response to the conflict in Pakistan. The British Red Cross is already providing funds to the ICRC for food and for a nurse to help treat the wounded in the hospital in Peshawar.
To donate to the British Red Cross Pakistan Crisis Appeal, go to: www.redcross.org.uk/pakistanappeal
0845 053 53 53
Please send cheques made payable to British Red Cross to:
Pakistan Crisis Appeal, British Red Cross , 44 Moorfields, London, EC2Y 9AL
Notes to editors
This is how your donation could help:
£5 could provide 3 jerry cans for carrying and storing clean water
£25 could provide 6 blankets for people left without shelter
£50 can provide a food ration for a family of 5 for 1 month
For interviews, photos and further info, please contact Penny Sims on 020 7877 7044 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via pager no. 07659 145 095
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.