The Federal Foreign Office has increased its aid for internally displaced persons in North-West Pakistan by a further 1 million euro. The money will be donated to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to fund the construction of refugee camps and shelters and the provision of material aid to those in need.
Today (20 May), Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier made the following statement on the subject:
"I am greatly concerned about the situation in North-West Pakistan and the fate of the over 1 million refugees there. While the fight against religious fanatics is necessary, it must not take place at the expense of innocent civilians. We must therefore do all we can, together with Pakistan, to help these suffering people. For that reason we Germans will once again increase our aid."
According to the UN, over a million people have now fled their homes in North-West Pakistan due to the hostilities between Pakistan Government troops and Taliban groups. Over 100,000 Pakistanis leave their homes each day, joining the around 550,000 refugees expelled due to earlier fighting last August. The Swat Valley and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on the border with Afghanistan have been particularly hard hit.
The Federal Foreign Office has in recent weeks made available 1.6 million euro for humanitarian relief measures in Pakistan – in April the International Committee of the Red Cross was provided with 1 million euro to supply the refugees with drinking water, food and daily necessities. Another 600,000 euro was paid out at the beginning of May to German aid organizations to provide displaced persons in Mardan, Charsadda and Peshawar districts with the hygiene items and basic necessities they so urgently require. The German Government's 2009 humanitarian aid to Pakistan thus totals 12.6 million euro to date.