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France

One million displaced by fighting in Swat valley, UN says

Video by Louis MASSIE

Latest update : 2009-05-16

UN aid agencies estimate that the number of people who have fled the fighting between the Pakistani army and Taliban insurgents in the Swat valley surged to nearly one million on Friday.

AFP - The number of people who have fled fighting in Pakistan over the past two weeks surged to nearly one million on Friday, UN agencies said.
   
There was little sign of the massive flow of people abating, said William Spindler, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, as the total number of displaced in northwestern Pakistan exceeded 1.5 million.
   
By early Friday more than 987,000 people were registered as displaced since May 2, he told journalists.
   
That recent displacement added to the burden of helping more than 550,000 people who had fled earlier fighting in the same northwestern regions since late August.
   
"Every hour thousands of people are arriving at registration sites to be registered as internally displaced people," Spindler added.
   
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, who is currently visiting Pakistan, noted that if massive support is not mobilised immediately, the crisis could have "an enormous destabilising impact on the affected populations."
   
The UNHCR is calling for hundreds of millions of dollars in international funding for the relief effort.

Date created : 2009-05-16

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