PESHAWAR, 2 April 2021: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency on Friday donated 13 ambulances to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Rescue 1122 emergency fleet and 1 ambulance to the Project Directorate Health, Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In a video message, UNHCR’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Indrika Ratwatte, praised the generosity of the people and Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa towards refugees.
“The capacity support provided by the ambulances to the Government is a token of our solidarity and appreciation for the dedication and care shown towards refugees. We hope these ambulances will add to the outreach services provided by Rescue 1122, especially to people in areas that are hard to reach with critical medical and emergency services,” he said.
UNHCR’s Head of Sub-Office in Peshawar Bernard Inkoom also commended the work of Rescue 1122. “At this time, when COVID-19 comes to knock on all our doors, we need to support one another. UNHCR is standing today with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s emergency services and the people of Pakistan, just as Pakistan, its people and the local medical services here have stood in solidarity with Afghan refugees and shared critical health resources with them so generously for decades.”
Addressing the ceremony, the Additional Health Secretary Afazal Akbar welcomed the efforts of UNHCR and the international community to support host communities in Pakistan. “The long-lasting partnership of UNHCR and the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is very important in our effort to address health and medical needs, especially during the current pandemic. We are committed to providing critical medical assistance to everyone in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including refugees.”
The Relief and Rehabilitation Secretary Amer Latif thanked UNHCR for the additional support of the 14 ambulances. “These ambulances will assist us greatly with increased numbers of patients requiring emergency transportation at this time in different districts,” he said.
He added, “A friend in need is a friend indeed, and the support of UNHCR during these extraordinary times have shown yet again the good collaboration that exists between UNHCR and the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”
The Director-General of Rescue 1122 Khateer Ahmad, the Commissioner for Afghan Refugees Abbas Khan, and UNHCR’s Head of Sub-Office in Peshawar Bernard Inkoom were present at a ceremony to sign an agreement on the transfer of ownership of the ambulances.
The ambulances will be deployed to Swabi, Timergara, Hangu, Charsadda, Chitral, D.I. Khan, Lakki Marwat, Buner, Kohat, Mansehra, Haripur and other districts as part of Rescue 1122 emergency services. The 14 new ambulances join another five ambulances previously donated in 2020, bringing the number of transferred ambulances to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa medical services to 19 in total.
UNHCR, as part of its effort to support a Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees, is working together with a wide range of donors and partners, including from the development and private sectors, to find concrete durable solutions for refugees while also calling for more support for host communities. This is in recognition of their continued commitment to refugees.