Floods in Pakistan have killed more than 1,300 people and destroyed homes, infrastructure and livelihoods.
Pakistan is home to some 1.3 million registered Afghan refugees and has been a generous refugee host for more than 40 years.
“Rain and floods have been catastrophic for millions of people. We urgently need global support and solidarity for Pakistan in these dire times,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“The international community must step up its support and help Pakistan’s response to this catastrophe.”
One-third of the country has been completely submerged, with homes, roads and crops washed away.
“Village after village has been wiped out. Millions of houses have been destroyed,” said Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Bahadur, one of over 2,000 Afghan refugees living in Kheshgi Refugee Village in Pakistan’s north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Bahadur Khan and his family had only minutes to flee their home before it was swept away by flooding.
Originally from Kunar province in Afghanistan, Bahadur is one of more than 2,000 Afghan refugees living in Kheshgi Refugee Village in Pakistan’s north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
“That night was unforgettable as our house was inundated within minutes. We had no other option but to leave at once,” says Bahadur.
Bahadur and his family had weathered the torrential downpours of Pakistan’s annual monsoon since its onset in June. When the waters broke through a nearby embankment of the Kabul River in the early hours of the morning, he had only 10 minutes to evacuate his loved ones to the safety of higher ground before his home was swept away.
It was the third time the 60-year-old grandfather has been uprooted in his life.
“We fled Afghanistan when civil war broke out in the early 1990s. Then I had to move again when my house was completely destroyed after floods washed it away in 2010,” he says.
“When we left our homes, we went to the nearby higher grounds where we spent the night in the open,” he says. The following morning UNHCR arrived and provide his family with a tent and other essential items.
UNHCR has provided 10,000 tents and thousands of other relief items such as plastic tarpaulins, sanitary products, cooking stoves, blankets, solar lamps, and sleeping mats. Thousands of sacks have also been distributed to help households build sandbag defences around their homes. The assistance is being given to host communities as well as refugee villages.
UNHCR is providing emergency relief items for displaced families, such as tents, tarpaulins and sleeping mats. With our sister agencies, UNICEF and UNFPA, we are also providing psychosocial support, distributing sanitary products to women and girls, and supporting family tracing.
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The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.