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Ongoing Response
Balochistan Earthquake 2013

Two powerful earthquakes measuring 7.7 and 6.8 on the Richter scale hit Balochistan Province, south-western Pakistan, on 24 and 28 September 2013 respectively. According to the Government of Pakistan, the earthquakes killed 376 people and have affected at least 200,000 people.
According to the Government, Awaran, Kech, Kharan, Panjgur, Washuk and Gwadar districts have been affected. Awaran and Kech districts have been hit the hardest and have therefore been prioritized for humanitarian response.
Complex Emergency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA

Humanitarian partners are providing assistance to more than 1 million people who remain displaced across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as a result of ongoing insecurity since 2008. Conflict in north-western Pakistan has displaced over 4 million people since 2008, of whom 3 million have returned home.
Between March and June 2013, an escalation of hostilities displaced some 140,000 people from FATA, and in June and July, 67,000 people returned to safe areas in FATA. Humanitarian partners provided return packages including transport, food, non-food items and basic services. Partners are monitoring ongoing returns to ensure they are voluntary, safe, dignified and in accordance with humanitarian principles.
Monsoon 2013

Heavy monsoon rains experienced in August 2013 have triggered flash floods and caused widespread losses and damage across the country. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reports the monsoon rains have affected nearly 1.5 million people, 1.45 acres of crops and damaged or destroyed nearly 80,000 houses, as of 9 September 2013
Punjab and Sindh provinces are most affected. Government authorities, supported by humanitarian partners, are providing assistance in the flood-affected areas.
Monsoon 2012

Floods occurred in Pakistan in September 2012, affecting more than 5 million people. Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh provinces were the hardest hit, with some districts inundated with floodwaters for the third consecutive year. The floods affected more than 1 million acres of crops, damaged over 460,000 houses and ruined basic infrastructure.
The UN and its humanitarian partners are supporting the Government in providing assistance to the affected people in the hardest hit districts in Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh provinces.

IRIN on Pakistan

Pellet guns out in deadly force in Kashmir, after court refuses ban

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:56:48 +0000

A month after India’s home minister promised to consider replacing pellet guns with a less deadly form of crowd dispersal, the corridors of Srinagar’s biggest hospital are still lined with young men wearing sunglasses and eye patches.

These are the latest casualties of demonstrations that have brought the summer capital of India’s restive state of Jammu and Kashmir to a standstill. The unrest was ignited by the killing by government forces in early July of Burhan Wani, a key militant leader in Muslim-majority Indian-administered Kashmir. At least two Indian security officers and more than 80 civilians have been killed and the toll is mounting almost by the day.

Security forces fire lead pellets from pump-action shotguns at stone-throwing protesters, often at close range. Several people have been killed by the supposedly non-lethal pellet guns, while hundreds have been blinded and thousands more injured.

In a 21 September ruling, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court declined to prohibit the use of pellet guns.

Mehraj Bhat/IRIN
Protesters gathered at the main hospital in Srinagar in August were injured by pellet guns fired by Indian security forces

India’s use of the weapons has garnered widespread condemnation and Home Minister Rajnath Singh said during a mid-August visit that security forces could be issued with alternatives such as chili-filled grenades.

At publication, the home ministry had not replied to requests for comment, but there is no evidence that the pellet guns will be taken out of action any time soon. A volunteer helping injured protestors at the hospital said up to two dozen people still show up every day with pellet wounds.

“We are angry because our children are being injured, and if there is no dialogue, this situation will continue,” said the volunteer, who requested his name be withheld.

That’s an increasingly common sentiment here. As the region ruptures with popular protest against heavy-handed Indian rule, there is a growing clamour for talks about who has the right to govern this rugged valley in the Himalayas. If dialogue fails – or fails even to take place – Kashmir is destined to remain contested, and half a million Indian soldiers will continue to fight insurgents and face off against protestors every few years.

Unfortunately, the key players do not seem inclined to negotiate a way out of the 70-year cycle of conflict.

Pakistan, which administers part of Kashmir, has a long history of backing militant groups against India. The two countries have fought two of their three major wars over control of the region. An attack by militants this month on an Indian army base that killed 19 soldiers has only heightened tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations, and negotiations seem as out of reach as they have ever been.

Deadly deadlock

Last month, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an alliance of pro-Kashmiri independence groups, refused to meet with a government delegation that had travelled to Srinagar from Delhi.

Explaining why the APHC refused to meet the delegation – led by Singh, the home minister – Hurriyat spokesman Ghulam Muhammad Ganai said the government must first admit the basic fact that Kashmir is a disputed territory.

"India is not ready to initiate dialogue and it is very adamant about Kashmir being an integral part [of its territory],” Ganai told IRIN. “It is also insisting that Pakistan vacate the territory [that India] calls Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.”

There’s no chance that Pakistan will cede the area it governs to India, as both countries claim the territory in its entirety.

Mehraj Bhat/IRIN
A young man was shot by Indian security forces using pellet guns against protestors in July

Leaders from the rival countries have been sparring on the international stage since the 18 September attack that killed Indian soldiers at a base in the town of Uri.

In a speech at the UN General Assembly last week, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for an investigation into abuses and atrocities committed against civilians by Indian “occupation” forces, which he accused of repressing Kashmiris’ struggle for self-determination.

SEE: India urged to repeal soldiers’ impunity

Indian foreign minister Shushma Swaraj countered by saying Pakistan had “diverted money to train terrorist groups as militant proxies against its neighbours”.

Gull Wani, a political science professor at Kashmir University, told IRIN that the “humanitarian issues of Kashmir” had slipped into the background since the Uri attack. “Even the separatists have become hawkish, and the only casualty is the people of Kashmir.”

A region on edge

As politicians trade barbs in New York, Delhi, and Islamabad, Srinagar simmers.

In this state, where 70 percent of residents are Muslim and the remainder predominantly Hindu, last Friday’s prayers at Srinagar’s main mosque were suspended again for the 11th week in a row. The same day, another protester was shot and killed.

Members of the Central Reserve Police Force told IRIN anonymously, as they were not authorised to speak to media, that they only use the guns as a last resort when one of their members is in serious danger of being injured by a mob.

Protesters deny that security forces are taking such precautions, and those injured by pellets keep arriving at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital. Meanwhile, soldiers kitted-out in riot gear patrol the downtown where shops are shuttered.

Curfews have been variously imposed and lifted since the unrest began. But business isn’t on hold simply because of the government’s emergency measures. The pro-independence Hurriyat coalition has also been orchestrating widespread “strikes”.

The coalition releases a schedule at the beginning of every week, which has been negotiated with shopkeepers, telling residents when businesses will be allowed to open, usually for a couple hours at a time. There was excitement on Sunday, as stores in the city centre were finally allowed to come back to life all afternoon and evening.

Nimisha Jaiswal/IRIN
Dal Lake in Srinagar is usually packed with tourists in summer, but civil unrest has kept them away

But that sense of normalcy is fleeting these days, and no ones knows when violence could erupt again. In the absence of meaningful peace negotiations, the only certainty seems to be that the conflict will continue as it has done for decades.

“The people of Kashmir have become a football between India, Pakistan, Hurriyat, and the army,” said Ajam Khan, who owns a boat on Dal Lake, a now-deserted tourist attraction. “We want a solution now. We want this sacrifice to be worth something.”


(TOP PHOTO: Women hurry past Indian security forces in Srinagar. CREDIT: Nimisha Jaiswal/IRINTIMELINE GRAPHIC: Anna Pujol-Mazzini. SOURCES: Human Rights Watch, BBC, Al Jazeera, The Telegraph, CNN, Times of India)

kashmir_1.jpg News Conflict Human Rights Pellet guns out in deadly force in Kashmir, after court refuses ban Nimisha Jaiswal IRIN Srinagar India Asia India Pakistan

Afghanistan overwhelmed as refugees return from Pakistan

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 12:53:20 +0000

A humanitarian crisis is looming in Afghanistan as 5,000 refugees return each day from Pakistan, where they are being pressured to leave and join hundreds of thousands already displaced by war at home. 
The UN has announced an emergency appeal for $152 million to support approximately one million people expected to be on the move in Afghanistan from now until the end of the year. That’s about 600,000 more people than the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan projected for 2016.
The plan prescribed assistance for 250,000 internally displaced people, but the number of IDPs so far this year has already come close to that estimate. With fierce fighting continuing through the country, many more are expected to flee their homes.
The new estimates include 400,000 internally displaced people, along with returns of about 220,000 people who were registered as refugees in Pakistan or Iran, and another 400,000 who were not registered but are returning from those two countries, but mostly from Pakistan.
Conditions are especially poor for the undocumented returnees, who do not receive the same support as those who have been registered as refugees. But this hasn’t stopped thousands returning from Pakistan, where many have lived for decades, because they are no longer welcome there.
malnourished boy
Jim Huylebroek/NRC
A malnourished boy sleeps under an old tent in Nangarhar province after his family returned from Pakistan
“Unprecedented numbers of Afghans are fleeing increased incidents of violence, arbitrary arrest, detention and other forms of harassment,” said the International Organization for Migration in a statement on Friday. 
“Given as little as 48 hours to leave, they are hard-pressed to sell off assets and pack up their homes and possessions. In some instances people arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs.”  
The Norwegian Refugee Council said last week that 225,000 people have returned so far this year, of which 136,000 are undocumented, and returns have increased dramatically in the past six weeks. It was this spike that prompted the UN appeal, as aid groups are already struggling to assist those who’ve already returned.
Will Carter, who is with the NRC and recently visited returnees in Nangarhar Province, found families living out in the open or in overcrowded dwellings. Many had little food, and there were no sanitation facilities, which raised fears of disease outbreaks. 
“We are in a race against time to provide enough shelter and sanitation facilities to families arriving before the wet winter season,” Carter said in a statement.
Nangarhar, which shares the busy Torkham border crossing with Pakistan, is expected to absorb 85,000 returnees – far more than any of Afghanistan’s other 34 provinces. But the province has also seen its own mass displacement as government and allied forces battle insurgents including the Taliban and Daesh (also known as the Islamic State).
Jim Huylebroek/NRC
A girl stands with her family's possessions which they've brought to Nangarhar province after leaving Pakistan
On a trip last week to Afghanistan, Stephen O’Brien, the head of the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, said the government was “preparing plans for longer-term solutions for the resettlement of returnees”.
O’Brien did not say exactly what those plans are, but the government has a poor track record when it comes to caring for displaced people. 
An Amnesty International report earlier this year said Afghanistan had failed to implement a 2014 national policy to provide basic living standards for IDPs. Instead, Amnesty researchers found them living “on the brink of survival”.
A report last year by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction exposed the former government's history of corruption and mismanagement of programmes meant to help returnees. 
The current government is facing political infighting, an economic collapse, and insurgencies on multiple fronts. It will need all the help it can get to deal with the ever-growing number of Afghans with nowhere to live.
(TOP PHOTO: A truck carrying Afghan refugees returning from Pakistan travels through Afghanistan's Nangarhar province in August. CREDIT: Jim Huylebroek/NRC)    
jalalabad_nrc_jimhuylebroek-17.jpg News Aid and Policy Migration Health Human Rights Afghanistan overwhelmed as refugees return from Pakistan Jared Ferrie IRIN Asia Afghanistan Pakistan

Situation Reports and Updates

15-Oct-2013Humanitarian Bulletin Pakistan Issue 19 | 16 September – 15 October 2013Download
15-Sep-2013Humanitarian Bulletin Pakistan: Issue 18 | 16 August – 15 September 2013Download
13-Sep-2013MONSOON UPDATE Issue 8 | 7 - 13 September 2013Download
06-Sep-2013MONSOON UPDATE Issue 7 | 31 August - 6 September 2013Download
30-Aug-2013MONSOON UPDATE Issue 6 | 24 August - 30 August 2013Download
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