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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
12 January 2006

PAKISTAN: Year in Brief 2005 - Chronology of key events Jan-Aug

ISLAMABAD, 12 Jan 2006 (IRIN) -

January February March April
May June July August
September October November December




JANUARY


10 January - An outbreak of leishmaniasis, a skin disease caused by the bite of a sand fly, has been reported in parts of the southern Pakistani provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. "There are so many cases in the Dadu district of Sindh alone. The number of cases reported to health authorities has gone up from 402 to more than 2,900 in just four days. And we are receiving similar reports from the adjoining districts of Sukkur, Jacobabad, Larkana and Naushero Feroze," said Dr Hadi Bux Jatoi, director-general (DG) of health services in Sindh. He was talking to IRIN from Sukkur district, some 480 km from the Sindh capital, Karachi, on Friday.

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FEBRUARY


7 February - In a fresh upsurge of attacks on government installations in the troubled southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan, several electricity transmission lines, communication masts and railway tracks have been blown up in the last week. "Unrest in Balochistan is potentially at a very dangerous point. Government and the tribesmen both need to reduce confrontation before the situation becomes explosive," Irshad Hussain Haqqani, a political analyst, told IRIN from the eastern city of Lahore on Friday.

11 February - Flash floods have badly affected some 17,000 people in nearly 40 villages scattered throughout the southern coastal district of Gawadar in Pakistan's southwest Baluchistan province after more than one week of heavy rains. "The accurate number of deaths or injured is not known yet, as hundreds of people in the inundated areas are missing and many villages are still inaccessible," Ghulam Ali, a district officer, told IRIN on Friday from the southern coastal city of Gawadar. "People of the flooded areas are sitting at higher places on mountains under the open sky and there are no proper shelter arrangements yet."

23 February - The Pakistan government and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Wednesday launched the first ever census of Afghans who have arrived in Pakistan over the past 25 years. The 10-day exercise will continue until 4 March. "It has started only in Peshawar, but it'll be under way in every place in Pakistan by the end of the week," Jack Redden, a UNHCR spokesman, told IRIN in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

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MARCH


2 March - Local authorities on Wednesday evacuated some 5,000 people from low-lying villages in the southern coastal belt of Gawadar district in Pakistan's Balochistan province, after heavy rains caused a breach in the Aakra Kor dam, provincial relief officials told IRIN. "People have been alerted against any potential flash flooding in the southern coastal belt, with the seasonal rivers in high flow following torrential rains over the past two days. The population of villages surrounding Aakra dam have been shifted to safe places," Raziq Bugti, head of the provincial crisis management cell (CMC), told IRIN from the provincial capital, Quetta.

31 March - Pakistan's National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) has launched a national campaign to treat acute diarrhoea with Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS). Diarrhoea causes up to 30 percent of all deaths in children aged five and under across the country, mostly in remote rural areas. "Our main objective is to train one woman from every household to prepare oral rehydration solutions at home and administer them to the affected minor or adult," Dr Moazzam Khalil, head of the health programmes at the NCHD, told IRIN in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

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APRIL


11 April - Immediate intervention is required to rehabilitate infrastructure in northern districts of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP), a UN official told IRIN. The call follows heavy rains and snow in January and February of this year that killed hundreds and severely damaged houses, roads, schools and hospitals in isolated parts of the province. "Despite the official announcements, no steps have been taken so far to help the affected people and compensate for damage to houses, livestock and agriculture," Dr Quaid Saeed, co-ordinator of the UN interagency co-ordination committee in NWFP, told IRIN from the provincial capital Peshawar.

14 April - Several cases of diphtheria and measles among children have been reported in the Pakistani capital Islamabad and the adjacent city of Rawalpindi over the past few weeks, raising concerns about the effectiveness of routine child immunisation on the ground. "An emergency operation against the two diseases was launched immediately in particular areas of the two cities where the reports came from, following the diagnosis of diphtheria and measles cases in the first week of April," Dr Jalil Kamran, head of the Epidemic Investigation Cell (EIC) at the National Institute of Health (NIH), told IRIN in Islamabad on Wednesday.

19 April - A delegation of the Afghan Return Commission Working Group (RCWG) has been visiting Afghan refugees of Turkmen origin in the Pakistani city of Attock in Punjab province, some 80 km northeast of the capital, Islamabad, to hear their concerns about repatriation. The RCWG, a government body, was formed three years ago to help remove obstacles in the way of repatriation of the millions of Afghans living in neighbouring countries. This is the first visit of its kind by the RCWG to inform Afghans in Pakistan about conditions in their homeland and to encourage the repatriation of at least a million Afghans who remain in the country.

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MAY


5 May - An outbreak of water-borne diseases has been reported in central areas of Pakistan's southern province of Sindh caused by polluted domestic water supplies. Over 1,100 people with diarrhoea and other related problems have attended public health facilities in the last two weeks, a health official told IRIN. "At present, some 300, mostly children, are admitted in various hospitals, while others were discharged after treatment," Dr Masood Solangi, deputy director of the provincial health department, told IRIN from Hyderabad on Wednesday.

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JUNE


24 June - At least 100 mud-walled houses have been damaged by floods while about 500 families have been evacuated by Pakistani army rescue teams after several villages along the River Kabul were flooded on Thursday, according to initial reports by the relief department of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). "People have been shifted to the houses of their relatives and some to public buildings. But so far, we've not received any report concerning human casualty or cattle loss," Ghulam Jillani, the deputy relief commissioner, said from provincial capital, Peshawar.

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JULY


5 July - At least five people have been killed and nearly 10,000 people have been displaced after two weeks of heavy flooding in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the provincial relief department said on Monday. According to meteorologists, unusual weather conditions including the heaviest snowfall in the region for over a century, have combined to cause the problems and created severe flooding along the Kabul and Swat rivers.

11 July - At least 17 people have been killed and an estimated 400,000 affected following a week of flooding along the Indus and Chenab rivers in Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, according to the provincial relief department. "Since 1992, there has not been much water in the river Indus, so people started cultivating land inside the riverbed and gradually settled there," said district officer coordinating relief activities, Zaffar Abbas Lali, speaking from Layyah, some 450 km south of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

14 July - More than 30,000 Afghan refugees have been assisted to repatriate over the past three weeks from North Waziristan agency in Pakistan's western tribal belt following Islamabad's decision to close the camp they were living in on 30 June for security reasons. A large number of refugees still continue to show up at the registration centre of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This was set up in the adjacent tribal agency of Kurram to register those who wished to qualify for the agency's repatriation assistance.

20 July - The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is preparing to distribute 7,850 food packs to flood affected communities in northern Pakistan, where heavy flooding over the past four weeks has displaced 10,000 people and an estimated 45,000 are in immediate need of food support. "We are coordinating with Islamic Relief (IR) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to distribute food supplies amongst Pakistani as well Afghan refugee families in three badly flood hit districts of Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda in NWFP [North West Frontier Province] and also in northern areas," WFP's Sahib-e-Haq said in Islamabad on Wednesday.

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AUGUST


5 August - Plans to evict Afghan refugees still living in the Pakistani capital and the adjacent city of Rawalpindi are still being worked out, following a formal announcement of the move earlier this week. "The schedule and further details regarding options of repatriation or relocation of Afghans living in Islamabad [capital] and Rawalpindi will be announced shortly. We are working on it with all the relevant bodies," Jehangir Khan, head of the state-run Commissionerate of Afghan Refugees (CAR), said on Thursday from the western city of Peshawar.

8 August - Pakistani authorities have announced the closure of over 30 Afghan refugee camps by the end of August, citing security concerns. All are located in Kurram and Bajaur agencies in the western tribal belt of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. The move is a further step in the continuing policy of camp closures. "As of 31 August, all the Afghan refugee camps in Kurram and Bajaur agency will be closed. However, the camp residents can avail themselves of the UNHCR's [the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees] assistance package for repatriation back to Afghanistan," Jehangir Khan, head of the state-run Commissionerate of Afghan Refugees (CAR), said.

23 August - Rights activists in Pakistan have hailed increased participation by women in last week's local elections. "For the first time in the country's history, civil society groups, rights activists, media and other bodies have come up with a collective campaign for women electoral rights," Naeem Mirza, a project director with a leading women rights' body, the Aurat Foundation, said in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad on Monday.

23 August - Islamabad intends to adhere to a timetable of closures of various Afghan refugee camps and settlements across the country, a government official said on Tuesday, responding to reports that extensions were being considered to allow camp residents time to leave in safety and with dignity. "The deadlines will remain the same for all the Afghan refugee camps whether in the western tribal region or in Balochistan province or for Afghan settlements on the outskirts of capital. We have no plans to revise any of them at all," Dr Imran Zeb, director of the Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees (CAR), a state body dealing with Afghan refugees, said in the capital, Islamabad.

25 August - More than 2.5 million Afghan refugees would like to continue living in Pakistan beyond 2005, according to a detailed census report released on Wednesday by Pakistani authorities, in conjunction with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The findings of the report, entitled, 'Census of Afghans in Pakistan 2005' revealed that of three million Afghans in the country, some 75 percent are not ready to repatriate, citing poor security, a lack of adeqate housing, scarcity of jobs and various land issues.

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January February March April
May June July August
September October November December

[ENDS]

This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but May not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2006



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