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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

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

How ready are Indian Ocean nations for the next big tsunami?

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 12:50:54 +0000

On Boxing Day 2004, a 9.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the west coast of Sumatra, triggering a tsunami with a series of waves up to 30 metres (100 feet) high that killed an estimated 230,000 people in 13 countries. Today, almost 12 years later, tens of thousands of people from Indian Ocean coastal communities will evacuate their homes in an exercise to establish how prepared the region is for the next "big one".
The two-day drill involves 24 countries, including many of those that suffered the worst devastation in 2004, and will see at least 10 of those carry out a practice evacuation totalling about 50,000 people.
The exercise and subsequent evaluation are an attempt to find out how well the regional tsunami warning system, which began operating in 2011, is working.
“In terms of scale, at least in Indonesia, this is unprecedented,” said Puji Pujiono, a disaster risk reduction advisor with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
He told IRIN that 3,000 people from various Indonesian agencies are involved, and the drill is being carried out in four districts vulnerable to tsunamis.
“The exercise is meant to test the standard operating procedures and communication links at all levels of the warning chain,” said Andi Eka Sakya, director general of the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics, known by its Bahasa acronym BMKG.
He told IRIN the simulation would gauge whether “agencies, community organisations and citizens groups are able to work together to prepare for the evacuation after a tsunami warning is issued by national and local authorities.”
What will happen?
Today’s exercise involves a quake similar to the one in 2004, off the coast of Sumatra. Tomorrow’s will simulate a 9-magnitude earthquake in the Makran Trench in the ocean south of Iran and Pakistan, according to UNESCO, which is responsible for coordinating the tsunami warning system’s governance.
About 7,000 people will be evacuated from 14 Sri Lankan villages, while about 8,000 students will participate in simulated evacuations in Oman. In India, about 35,000 people will take part in evacuations from 350 villages over the next two days.
“Simulating tsunami waves travelling across the Indian Ocean, both exercises will be conducted in real time lasting about 12 hours,” said UNESCO. 
Earlier this year, authorities had the opportunity to see the system at work after a magnitude 7.8 quake off Sumatra on 2 March set off warnings in several countries.
In Indonesia, the BMKG sent its first bulletin within five minutes, warning local and regional authorities of the temblor. Ten minutes later it followed up with a tsunami warning bulletin, which was cancelled half an hour later, according to Sakya, the agency’s director general.
That’s the way the warning system is supposed to work at an agency level. On the ground, the response was mixed, Sakya said in a May interview. In some communities the evacuation was orderly, while there was confusion and panic in others.
“Some sirens had been turned on by the local officers, but then, after misinterpreting the tsunami information, they turned them off,” he said.
Reactions in other countries from the March quake should become clearer once a survey by UNESCO’s Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre is completed. However, the survey is hampered by a poor response rate from the 24 countries that were asked to take part; only 14 had responded as of the end of July.
(PHOTO: A tsunami evacuation sign in Sri Lanka. CREDIT: Amantha Perera/IRIN)
Along Sri Lanka's coast, sign boards like this direct residents to safer ground in the event of a tsunami News Aid and Policy Environment and Disasters How ready are Indian Ocean nations for the next big tsunami? Jared Ferrie IRIN Asia India Indonesia Iran Pakistan Sri Lanka Oman

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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