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UNHCR: Flood victims still homeless

ISLAMABAD: Around 166,000 flood victims in Balochistan are still displaced and living in 240 camps and spontaneous settlements after six months of last year’s devastating floods.

Flood victims Latest NewsAccording to an UNHCR release here on Friday, there are still numerous homeless flood victims desperately in need of help.

UNHCR has been providing assistance to many of them, but it is also helping a large number of those who have returned to their villages and have started rebuilding their damaged or destroyed homes.

Jaffarabad has been the worst affected district in the province with more than 16,000 houses in 851 villages destroyed.

The agency has pledged to build 16,000 temporary shelters in Balochistan with the help of local implementing partners. Work has either begun or been completed on 75 per cent of them.

Shops and markets have reopened and people have started rebuilding homes in Katbar Mohalla and hundreds of other villages in the worst-hit districts of Jaffarabad and Naseerabad.

When the floodwater hit Katbar Mohalla in August 2010, the village was home to some 400 families, or about 3,000 people. They all fled, but today almost 90 per cent have returned and have started reconstruction.

“Only a few lucky ones found their homes undamaged,” noted Ghulam, a resident of the area.

“We pumped out some of the water so that we had a little bit of space on which to put up our tent,” he added.

As part of its shelter programme, UNCR is funding the construction of 500 one-room shelters in Balochistan for those deemed to be particularly vulnerable.

Meanwhile, some 25,000 people are still living in 39 camps in Balochistan, which was first hit by flooding on July 22 last year.

A further 1,28,000 are spread across 188 locations in Sindh province, while more than 13,000 are in 16 camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the north.

Many of these people lack the means to rebuild their homes, while others have lost livelihoods and are without sufficient cash or transport to move on.

Over the past six months, UNHCR has provided emergency shelter to almost two million people as part of the joint humanitarian effort.

The refugee agency remains committed to helping 6,65,000 people across Pakistan with shelters. UNHCR has also been providing warm clothes, blankets and plastic sheeting to people living inside and outside of camps to survive the winter weather.

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