International Help Sought For Pakistans One Million Refugees

05.15.09 | FL News Team

A United Nations official is urging the international community to provide massive amounts of aid for an estimated one-million Pakistanis forced from their homes due to recent fighting between Pakistan's army and Taliban militants.

Pakistan's prime minister calls it the largest displacement of people in his nation's history. He warned the Pakistani people could turn against their government if many civilians are killed in the military offensive or if Swat Valley refugees endure life-threatening hardship in the intense heat. The military action against the Taliban in Pakistan's northwest region is tied to the U.S. military's efforts to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda in neighboring Afghanistan.

The World Health Organization warns the hundreds of thousands displaced in Pakistan face risks such as disease outbreaks and malnutrition. The UN's refugee agency has airlifted more than 100 tons of supplies to that country's lowland region where refugee camps have been set up.

The U.S. has donated nearly five-million-dollars for supplies like tents and cooking kits, while Britain has donated more than 15-million-dollars in refugee aid funding. Pakistan's government is working to organize an aid donors meeting to gather needed funds.