Pakistan

Pakistan earthquake: Turkish government and NATO generous with relief supply help

This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today's Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva. Further information can be found on the UNHCR websites, www.unhcr.org and www.unhcr.fr, which should also be checked for regular media updates on non-briefing days.

Hundreds of tons of UNHCR relief supplies, including thousands of urgently needed tents, are being rushed to Pakistan earthquake victims from our stockpiles around the world. At least three UNHCR cargo flights arrived overnight in Islamabad from Dubai and Jordan, and a fourth is in the air. In addition, a joint UNHCR-WFP 47-truck convoy carrying 1,500 10-person tents, 50,000 plastic sheets, 20,000 blankets and 10,000 jerry cans from our warehouses in Kabul arrived last night in Peshawar and is presently being offloaded for onward distribution.

We are being joined in this massive logistical effort today by the government of Turkey and NATO, who are working with us to ship hundreds of tons of supplies from Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey. In all, we have about 860 tons of supplies in our warehouse in Iskenderun, Turkey, that we're going to rush to Pakistan with the generous help of these two partners. The Turkish government has kindly offered to provide a fleet of 40 trucks to ferry these supplies from our warehouse to the air base at Incirlik - a two-hour drive. There, the supplies will be loaded onto NATO cargo planes and flown to Pakistan. The governor of Adana, where Incirlik is located, is assisting with the provision of military troops and equipment to help shift the supplies.

This part of the airlift will deliver nearly 10,000 family tents - enough for 100,000 people -- 103,675 blankets and 2,000 stoves from our stocks in Turkey.

The airports in Pakistan remain congested and affected by bad weather. Dubai also experienced congestion. Yesterday, a UNHCR-chartered cargo jet from Jordan brought in 1,836 kitchen sets, 175 rolls of plastic sheeting and 272 blankets to Islamabad. Another plane is arriving this morning from Jordan with more blankets, plastic sheeting and kitchen sets. This morning, two flights arrived in Islamabad from Dubai with some 3,000 family tents. A third flight from Dubai today is bringing another 1,000 tents. Over the weekend, we flew in 357 huge rolls of plastic sheeting from our stockpiles in Copenhagen.

In all, we are shipping as quickly as possible more than 15,000 ten-person tents, 220,000 blankets, 68,794 plastic sheets, 500 plastic rolls, 31,840 kitchen sets, 2,000 stoves and 5,000 lanterns from our stocks in several countries.

Last week, UNHCR started distributing tents to the affected population around Mansehra, in North West Frontier Province, from our existing stocks in Pakistan. But with the enormous immediate needs and winter fast approaching, we are quickly depleting the stocks we already had on the ground in Pakistan. We have also established a UNHCR tent base in Mansehra for temporary storage of non-food items and from where some of the relief efforts are being coordinated.

We're also continuing to reinforce our team in Pakistan, sending logistics, site planning and camp coordination specialists. More experts will be flown in over the coming days. The government has informed UNHCR that it's setting up camp sites in three locations -- Balakot for 5,000 families; Ghari Habib Ullah (between Muzaffarabad and Balakot) for 3,000 families; and Batagram for 5,000 families. UNHCR has been asked to help set up the camps.

We've given the Pakistan army 5,000 plastic sheets, some of which were airdropped to quake victims in the inaccessible Kaghan Valley.

UNHCR has appealed for $22 million to fund its activities in the earthquake affected areas. So far, the Government of Japan has announced a $1 million contribution, while Italy announced it is providing 250,000 Euros.