Princess Haya urges donations for Pakistan

Press Releases, 25 June 2009

Dubai, United Arab Emirates Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al-Hussein has called for a massive international aid effort to assist hundreds of thousands of people recently uprooted by fighting in Pakistan's north-west region.

Describing the crisis in Pakistan as the largest humanitarian emergency in the world today, the UN Messenger of Peace and wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, urged the public to step up support for the operation by donating to UNHCR. Her message appeared in a public service announcement on television networks broadcast across the Middle East and elsewhere.

"Millions have been forced to leave, abandoning their homes, their communities and their loved ones," she said. "They arrive needing everything: shelter, food, and medical care."

UNHCR is seeking to ease congestion by expanding camps and providing solutions to host families. The UN refugee agency also wants to scale up assistance to people staying outside of camps and is procuring more relief items for IDPs and host families.

But the shortage of resources is already reducing the amount of shelter and other aide items reaching those in need. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has said that hundreds of millions of dollars will be needed for the overall relief effort to help the internally displaced and affected communities in Pakistan.

Established in 1950, the UN refugee agency protects the rights and well-being of refugees and others uprooted by conflict and persecution around the world. It ensures those fleeing violence are given access to life-saving assistance, as well as long-term support during exile and help with durable solutions so that they can rebuild their lives.

"Only with your help, can UNHCR revive hope, assist with shelter and meet other basic needs. Please help UNHCR," said Princess Haya.

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UNHCR country pages

Internally Displaced People

The internally displaced seek safety in other parts of their country, where they need help.

Pakistan Earthquake: A Race Against the Weather

With winter fast approaching and well over a million people reported homeless in quake-stricken Pakistan, UNHCR and its partners are speeding up the delivery and distribution of hundreds of tonnes of tents, blankets and other relief supplies from around the world.

In all, the NATO-UNHCR airlift, which began on 19 October, will deliver a total of 860 tonnes of supplies from our stockpiles in Iskenderun, Turkey. Separately, by 25 October, UNHCR-chartered aircraft had so far delivered 14 planeloads of supplies to Pakistan from the agency's stocks in Copenhagen, Dubai and Jordan.

On the ground, UNHCR is continuing to distribute aid supplies in the affected areas to help meet some of the massive needs of an estimated 3 million people.

Pakistan Earthquake: A Race Against the Weather

Pakistan: Fleeing to Safety

More than 1.5 million people flee their homes in North-West Pakistan.

Fighting between the army and Taliban militants in and around the Swat Valley in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province has displaced more than 1.5 million people since the beginning of May. Some of the displaced are being sheltered in camps set up by the government and supplied by UNHCR. Others - the majority, in fact - are staying in public buildings, such as schools, or with friends and extended family members. Living conditions are harsh. With the onset of summer, rising temperatures are contributing to a range of ailments, especially for villagers from Swat accustomed to a cooler climate. Pakistan's displacement crisis has triggered an outpouring of generosity at home. UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres is urging a "massive" assistance effort from abroad as well.

Pakistan: Fleeing to Safety

Pakistan: Finding Refuge

Pakistani civilians continue to stream out of the region around the Swat Valley to find shelter in Mardana

More than 2 million people, according to local authorities, have been forced from their homes following Pakistani efforts to drive militants out of the region around north-west Pakistan's Swat Valley. Some 200,000 are living in camps set up by the Pakistani government and supplied by UNHCR and other agencies. The remainder are staying in schools or other communal buildings or being hosted by families. The heat is intense, reaching 45 degrees Celsius, and many of the displaced are suffering from heat-related infections and water-borne illnesses, although conditions are improving. UNHCR is providing tents, cooking sets, plastic sheeting and jerry cans, among other aid items. Award-winning photographer Alixandra Fazzina has spent the last two weeks documenting the plight of the internally displaced, from their arrival in safe areas, to the camps, schools and homes in which they now find themselves.

Pakistan: Finding Refuge

Pakistan: Returning HomePlay video

Pakistan: Returning Home

Since the beginning of November, UNHCR has been offering an enhanced package to every registered refugee in Pakistan choosing to go home to Afghanistan.
Pakistan: Helping the HostsPlay video

Pakistan: Helping the Hosts

Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees in Pakistan's Balochistan province have access to schools and basic services, but the cost is not easy to bear.
Pakistan: Pushed to SafetyPlay video

Pakistan: Pushed to Safety

Thousands are forced to flee the fighting in Pakistan's Khyber Agency on the border with Afghanistan.