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Asia-pacific

UNHCR says two million have fled fighting

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Latest update : 2009-05-18

More than two million people have fled fighting in northwest Pakistan since August 2008, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says, including 1.45 million displaced since a renewed Pakistani army offensive against the Taliban since May 2.

AFP - The number of people forced to flee fighting in northwestern Pakistan since August 2008 has exceeded the two million mark, the UN refugee agency said Monday.
   
The number includes 1.45 million people registered as displaced during the Pakistani army's offensive against militants since May 2, and another 553,916 who fled earlier fighting, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement.
   

High Commissioner Antonio Guterres had described the displacement crisis as "one of the most dramatic in recent times," said UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond.
   
"It's like trying to catch something that's moving ahead of us because the number of people on the move every day is so big and the response is never enough," Redmond told journalists.
   
"Leaving this population without the support they need - with such massive numbers - could constitute an enormous destabilising factor," he added.
   
UN agencies are expected to launch appeals for aid funding this week which could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars, officials have said.
   
"We know these are tough economic times, but we believe the same international community that has found billions to rescue financial systems also has an obligation to rescue people in need," said Redmond.

 

Date created : 2009-05-18

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