Blankets, mosquito nets rushed to Pakistan families

Pakistan, May 11, 2009

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  <span class="field-credit">
    REUTERS/Stringer, courtesy  </span>
    An internally displaced family flee military operations on a truck in Dargahi in Malakand, near Swat valley May 7, 2009. Pakistani aircraft pounded Taliban positions in the Swat valley on Thursday as thousands of people took advantage of a break in a curfew to flee from the region. Photo: REUTERS/Stringer, courtesy

Mercy Corps is rushing two truckloads of aid materials — including mosquito nets, soap and blankets — to more than 1,000 families displaced by fighting in Pakistan's Swat Valley.

Intensified fighting between the Pakistan Army and Taliban militants has forced more than 360,000 people from their homes in the last few days. The vast majority are women and children.

Your donation to Mercy Corps allows us to respond quickly and effectively in Pakistan and to other humanitarian emergencies around the world.

Hundreds of thousands more are expected to flee their homes in the coming week. The UN warned today of "a protracted displacement crisis."

Mercy Corps has assembled a nine-member emergency response team in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, with two more relief workers en route from Afghanistan and Portland.

On Tuesday, our team will distribute 1,155 emergency-supply kits at a vocational training school in Mardan, one of the primary gathering points for displaced families. The kits contain blankets, feminine hygiene supplies, soap, towels, mosquito repellent and mosquito nets.

An estimated 75 percent of the displaced population are taking refuge in existing villages rather than tent camps. Our ongoing efforts will focus on immediate needs of families in communities overwhelmed by this influx, including ensuring they have access to cooking facilities, clean water and sanitary housing.