BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: South Asia
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Tuesday, 9 January, 2001, 12:19 GMT
UN moves to save Afghan refugees
Refugee camp
The makeshift camps offer little protection from bitter cold
By Susannah Price in Islamabad

The United Nations refugee agency has begun an urgent operation to relocate thousands of Afghan refugees recently arrived in Pakistan.

The refugees' health is at risk from freezing temperatures.

UN officials say at least three children have already died due to the terrible conditions at the makeshift camp where they are living, near the border town of Peshawar.

Large numbers of refugees from the fighting in Afghanistan are still arriving, even though Pakistan says it has closed its border to new arrivals.

Unhealthy conditions

Every day, hundreds of Afghan refugees have arrived at the makeshift camp at Jalozai, in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province.

Afghan girls
Children are at particular risk
They have built basic shelters from plastic sheets and clothing to protect themselves from the bitter weather.

At least three children have died from illnesses resulting from exposure at the site, where there's no sanitation or food aid and limited medical help.

The United Nations spokesman said the majority of the refugees who arrived recently had come from north Afghanistan, where fighting continues between the Taleban authorities and the opposing coalition.

He said many were traumatised by the conflict and were emotionally weak.

Over the next few days the United Nations refugee agency aims to move the 18,000 refugees in Jalozai by truck to a new, more suitable site near established camps.

Here they will be provided with tents and blankets as well as food and medical aid.


There are already more than a million Afghan refugees in camps in Pakistan and the government says another million are living in urban areas.

In November, Pakistan said it couldn't afford to allow any more to come in but has been unable to enforce this decision due to its porous border.

The UN has registered 60,000 Afghan refugees who arrived in Pakistan last year, mostly from areas affected by conflict.

While the refugees are still coming, many fear they will be detained and deported and aid agencies have called on Pakistan to officially re-open its border.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

08 Dec 00 | Media reports
Afghan refugees stranded in no-man's land
12 Sep 00 | South Asia
Afghan refugees head for Tajikistan
22 Dec 00 | South Asia
UN funding hole threatens refugees
21 Dec 00 | South Asia
Pakistan warns of Afghan exodus
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories