Flood refugees may flee to Iran

2010-09-02 21:44
Islamabad - Dismal conditions in flood-hit areas in southwest Pakistan could force thousands of Pakistanis and Afghan refugees to cross the border into Iran, the UN refugee agency warned on Thursday.

Baluchistan province was the first to be hit by the country's worst floods, which initially displaced some 200 000 people.

But the region has been largely ignored after more menacing waters raged in other parts of Pakistan.

Separatist nationalist militants have waged a low-scale insurgency for decades in Baluchistan, Pakistan's biggest but poorest province.

They campaign for greater autonomy and control of abundant natural gas and mineral resources, which they say are unfairly exploited to the benefits of other parts of the country.

Any neglect of the region's flood crisis could reinforce those views.

One million displaced

The number of displaced people there is close to one million, and lack of assistance could make them head to neighbouring Iran, said Mengesha Kebede, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Pakistan.

"This has not happened yet... but definitely everybody is aware of significant movement that is taking place," Kebede said, adding contingency plans there were underway.

"If we do not meet the humanitarian needs of the people, not only will there be social discontent but they will move for other fields, and unfortunately what that means is they could even go into Iran," he told a news conference.

Starting over a month ago, floods have killed at least 1 600 people, affected more than 18 million and inflicted nearly $43bn worth of damage to infrastructure and agriculture, the mainstay of the economy.

Floodwaters are receding in many areas, but millions still live in tents, with their houses destroyed and livelihood lost.

The calamity has displaced more 400 000 people inside Baluchistan. Another 600 000 have joined them from the neighbouring Sindh province.

‘Disgusting situation’

"I have worked in humanitarian situations globally... to be honest with you, I have not seen such a disgusting situation, as I saw in Baluchistan," said Kebede.

"Two schools sites I visited, I literally couldn't walk in, fundamentally because the entire school has one toilet which is being used by people... and basically people are defecating all over the place."

Hundreds of people have been killed in assassinations and bomb attacks in Baluchistan in recent years but there has been a relative lull in the thinly populated province of mountains and deserts in recent months.

Kebede called for scaled up relief activity in Baluchistan to prevent a major humanitarian disaster there.

"I feel it would be tragic if because of the lack of assistance, Pakistanis, Afghan refugees were to cross the border, seeking help and assistance in Iran," he said. "We need to ensure that Baluchistan is not forgotten."

Read more on:    us  |  pakistan  |  asia floods
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Mind power dominates and can help you to uncover things from a deeper level, but it can also create entanglements if you let your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.