The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in northwestern Pakistan, along the Afghan border, continue to be affected by large-scale internal displacements due to military operations and insurgent activity. The new military drive in FATA’s North Waziristan, which began in June 2014, has displaced over half a million people, mostly women and children. This new wave of displacement is further straining the resources of national and international organisations, who were already struggling to provide relief to almost a million internally displaced people before the start of the current operation. Displaced families urgently require food, medicines, safe drinking water and education services for their children.
Natural disasters, especially floods, add to Pakistan’s suffering. In 2013, for the fourth year in a row monsoon rains caused massive floods. Almost 1.5 million people were affected in Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. Many of the affected families were still recovering from the impact of previous years' floods.
As well as conflict and natural disasters, malnutrition exacts a heavy toll on Pakistan’s children. Particularly affected is the southern province of Sindh, where malnutrition rates among children are well above the global emergency levels. One of the poorest regions of the country, the food security situation in Sindh has worsened after successive floods in recent years have worn out the resilience of its people.
In addition, the situation of 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees and an estimated 1.2 million additional unregistered Afghans also remains a matter of concern. Despite sustained efforts by the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the countries concerned (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran), a resolution of the three-decade-old refugee crisis has not yet been found.
How are we helping?
The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has been working in Pakistan since the 1990s. ECHO has provided humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and major natural disasters, including the 2005 earthquake and the devastating 2010 floods which affected over 18 million people. It also provided much needed aid to people hit by floods in the following years. Since 2009, the European Union’s humanitarian aid to people in need in Pakistan has totalled €443 million. Relief items have also been channelled to flood victims through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
In 2014, ECHO continues to support people affected by conflict, under-nutrition and food insecurity through its INGO, UN and Red Cross / Red Crescent partners. It is providing food assistance, shelter, healthcare, access to safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and protection to conflict-displaced families in camps as well as to those living in host families outside the camps. Needs arising from new displacements will also be met as they develop.
During the floods in September 2011 the Monitoring and Information Centre (currently known as ERCC) received a request for tents, water purification equipment and tablets, blankets and medicines by the Pakistani authorities. The relief items were channelled to flood victims through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
The MIC deployed a five-member EU civil protection team to Pakistan to facilitate the coordination of the incoming assistance through the Mechanism.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated also in August 2010, responding to the request for assistance from Pakistan's government.
The MIC facilitated 16 transport operations to support the delivery of assistance provided by Participating States to Pakistan. Among these operations, three were offered through the EU Movement Planning Cell to transport assistance free of charge. The EU co–financed transportation of the assistance to Pakistan in the value of 1.23 million EUR.
A team of EU Civil Protection experts was sent to Pakistan to coordinate the incoming EU in-kind assistance, to liaise with national authorities and to support the UN coordination and assessment teams (UNDAC, UN OCHA, clusters).