5 June 2009
Mian Kursheed/ReutersThe Red Cross is stepping up its support for people affected by fighting in Pakistan, and as a result more funds are needed.
"In view of the needs on the ground, notably those of more than two million displaced people, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is asking donors for an additional £23 million," said Pascal Cuttat, head of the ICRC delegation in Pakistan. "About half the money we are asking for will be used to support Pakistan Red Crescent activities helping the displaced."
Pakistan is currently facing a growing humanitarian crisis triggered by fierce fighting between government security forces and militants. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has also launched an emergency appeal to help the Pakistan Red Crescent Society meet the humanitarian needs of 140,000 people displaced from the Swat Valley.
Civilians in conflict
Up to 120,000 displaced people are living in camps, but most have found refuge in host families, rented accommodation and makeshift shelters all over Pakistan. The ICRC, the Pakistan Red Crescent and other International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement partners plan to help a total of 380,000 displaced people in the coming weeks and months.
The crisis has also had a severe impact on tens of thousands of civilians left behind in the areas worst affected by fighting. "At the moment, the ICRC is the only major humanitarian organisation assisting civilians living in Swat, Dir and Buner, where fierce fighting has taken place," said Pascal.
"The ICRC is preparing to launch relief operations in and around Mingora, Swat's capital, where fighting has disrupted basic services and forced thousands to flee. It also plans to provide support for displaced people who decide to return home of their own free will."
Restoring family contact
The Pakistan Red Crescent and the ICRC will focus on restoring contact between family members in camps for the displaced and on supporting local healthcare facilities struggling to cope with the numbers of people arriving. The ICRC is also reinforcing the capacity of its surgical hospital in Peshawar and, given the influx of wounded people in the area, intends to set up a similar facility in Quetta.
Following the appeal for more funds on 4 June, the ICRC budget for its Pakistan operation stands at over £51 million, making the operation the ICRC's third largest worldwide.
British Red Cross Response
The British Red Cross will attend a meeting in Geneva hosted by the ICRC on 5 June to discuss how best to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan.
Read more about civilians in dire situation in Pakistan