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Mercy Corps procures emergency supplies after violence forces massive displacement in Pakistan; distribution expected tomorrow

May 11, 2009

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Agency to distribute over 1,000 emergency kits Tuesday to internally displaced families

Portland, OR – In response to an estimated half-million new internally displaced people in Pakistan, the global relief and development agency Mercy Corps has procured more than 1,100 emergency supply kits ready for distribution to families in need. Members of Mercy Corps’ 11-person emergency response team expects to deliver the supplies tomorrow in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province, where intensifying fighting between the Army and Taliban militants has triggered widespread displacement.

Mercy Corps’ initial assessment team identified urgent supply needs over the weekend and quickly secured emergency relief items for underserved displaced families. Tomorrow, two eight-ton trucks will deliver the emergency kits, which include feminine hygiene products, soap, blankets and mosquito nets.

The response team is also assessing needs in five transitional sites to help guide the agency’s continued response. Mercy Corps expects to address families' need for clean water and safe sanitation as they take refuge in existing villages.

“With about 80% of the displaced population living outside formal displacement camps, Mercy Corps is working to reach people that currently lack access to humanitarian assistance in host communities,” said John Stephens, Mercy Corps’ senior program officer for South Asia. “After the distribution of supplies tomorrow morning we anticipate working to establish a presence in two districts with large populations of internally displaced people to meet their immediate emergency needs before moving onto recovery programming.”

Approximately 360,000 Pakistanis have fled their homes in recent days in what the United Nations has called a “massive displacement.” An estimated 500,000 are expected in all, joining another 550,000 people who've fled their homes in the province since last August. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) expects this emergency situation six months, with resettlement and recovery lasting several years.

Mercy Corps has worked in Pakistan since 1986. The agency’s efforts include supporting the fight against Pakistan's tuberculosis epidemic by providing treatment and training to hundreds of health clinics, improving the health of mothers and their newborns, and leading economic-recovery efforts in communities affected by the 2005 earthquakes.

HOW TO HELP:

Mercy Corps
Emergency Response
Dept NR
PO Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208

www.mercycorps.org
1-800-852-2100