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Washington, DC - Secretary of State
Clinton's announcement providing $110 million in emergency relief for displaced
Pakistanis is a positive first step, Refugees International said today. Yet, the
organization expressed concern that the funding was insufficient compared to the
scale of the crisis. According to the United Nations, 2 million people have
already been displaced since last August, 1.4 million of whom have been
registered since May 2nd.
"This $110 million in emergency assistance is a very positive step, and will help aid agencies to respond quickly to the needs of displaced families should the money be made immediately available," said Patrick Duplat, advocate for Refugees International. "However, this only amounts to a mere $55 per displaced person and these people will remain displaced for many months. To stabilize the country, the U.S. must provide many more resources to support two million displaced Pakistanis and protect them from further harm."
The massive numbers of Pakistanis fleeing their homes is the largest movement of people in Pakistan since partition from India sixty years ago. Some people are fleeing to makeshift and overcrowded camps, but many are dependent on the hospitality of family and friends and living in overburdened households. Aid agencies are struggling to keep up with the massive needs. In response, the UN has recently launched a $500 million consolidated appeal. By contrast, U.S. military assistance to the Pakistani government is expected to total $3 billion in the next five years.
"The Obama administration must be front and center in pushing for civilians to be protected, and should insist that the Government of Pakistan take every precaution to avoid and minimize civilian casualties and displacement," continued Duplat. "The U.S. has a stake in this conflict, and it must understand that effective humanitarian aid is not just a moral imperative, but a strategic one as well. How many more people need to be displaced before civilian protection becomes a priority?"
Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates to end refugee crises. Advocates Patrick Duplat and Kristele Younes will be returning to Pakistan and Afghanistan in June to assess the needs of displaced people in both countries. Read their most recent field report, "Afghanistan and Pakistan: Raise Voices for Civilian Protection" at http://refugeesinternational.org/policy/field-report/afghanistan-and-pakistan-raise-voices-civilian-protection.