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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN agencies discuss early recovery efforts with Pakistani authorities

25 August 2009 – United Nations officials have wrapped up a mission to Swat district in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to discuss the strengthening of humanitarian assistance to those uprooted by military operations in the region, as well as early recovery efforts.

“We met district authorities and national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and established the need for early recovery activities to start as soon as possible,” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Mogwanja, who led the mission.

“So far the humanitarian community has distributed food and health kits but we want to expand our assistance,” he stated.

As of last week, the Pakistani Government estimated that around 1.6 million of the over 2 million people displaced by conflict in NWFP had returned to their villages.

Over half of the returnees went back to the districts of Swat and Buner, among the areas hardest hit by the fighting, while the rest returned to Dir and Shangla districts.

During their mission to Swat, UN agencies gained a better understanding of the current situation and found that agriculture, education and health were of the highest importance, according to a news release issued by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

OCHA added that it is planning to open a satellite office in Swat that will work closely with the district authorities and other humanitarian actors on the ground.

The mission to Swat included representatives of OCHA, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

To assist the Government and the international community to respond to needs in the wake of the country’s displacement crisis, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday announced the appointment of veteran French diplomat Jean-Maurice Ripert as his Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan.

Mr. Ripert, who is currently France’s Ambassador to the UN, will be tasked with promoting a “strategic, coherent and comprehensive approach to supporting the humanitarian, recovery and reconstruction needs of crisis affected areas” in concert with the Pakistani Government and international partners.

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