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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

As temperatures drop, UN distributes winter aid to displaced Pakistanis

24 November 2009 – The United Nations refugee agency has begun distributing additional relief supplies to civilians displaced by the ongoing military operations in north-west Pakistan to help them cope as temperatures begin to drop in the region.

The first phase of the winterization drive carried out by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) started on Monday in Jalozai camp, near Peshawar in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Some 85,000 people, or 13,600 families, are expected to benefit from the additional aid, which will continue to be distributed in eight camps until 28 November.

More than 82,000 blankets, 37,000 plastic sheets and some 55,000 sleeping mats will be distributed this week in several camps including in Jalozai, Jalala, Benazir complex, Wali Kandow, and Palosa in NWFP.

According to UNHCR, there are currently more than 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing in 10 camps in NWFP, with more than 80,000 living in the largest camp, Jalozai.

The agency said that up to 900,000 people from the northern areas of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and NWFP could still be displaced and staying with host communities, according to overall relief distribution figures.

“Movement back and forth between displacement and return areas has made it difficult to have more precise estimate on the remaining IDPs,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told reporters in Geneva.

UNHCR and its partners are carrying out a re-screening process at seven humanitarian hubs in five districts of NWFP to better understand the scope and needs of the remaining displaced population, he added.

In addition to the aid that is being distributed to those in the camps, UNHCR is continuing to distribute tents to people who fled the fighting and are staying in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank districts with host families.

More than 14,000 family tents, as well as sleeping mats, blankets, jerry cans and kitchen sets, have been given out so far.

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