BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 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 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 28 September, 2001, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Aid begins to reach Afghan refugees
An Afghan refugee mother feeds her child whilst begging
Millions are facing starvation this winter
Emergency supplies have started arriving in Pakistan for an anticipated mass influx of Afghan refugees.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has sent planes carrying 100,000 tonnes of high-energy biscuits to the city of Peshawar.

The United Nations has been trying to put sufficient emergency supplies in place since it became clear that a huge number of people could flee Afghanistan.

The WFP and other UN agencies fear that up to 1.5 million Afghans could flee into Pakistan if the United States carries out military strikes in Afghanistan.

Click here for map of refugee movements in Afghanistan

Warehouses in and around Peshawar have been stocked with tens of thousands of blankets, plastic sheets, tents and other items.

Food stockpiled

Large amounts of food have been stockpiled and more is on the way.

UN officials said the United States had promised to provide enough wheat to feed a million people for a year.

But it is still not clear where the refugees will be sheltered.

Some are already arriving in the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Peshawar.

Pakistan's refugee crisis

But the Pakistani authorities said they wanted to keep the new refugees separate from Afghan refugees already living in Pakistan.

UN experts are now surveying about 100 possible sites for new camps near the border.

But it will be at least a week before any of the sites will be ready to receive refugees.

Pakistan and Iran are already sheltering 3.5 million Afghan refugees - the largest refugee group in the world.

UN appeal

The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has appealed for $584m to help millions of Afghans at risk of starvation in Afghanistan and bordering countries.

Eight million people are expected to need food aid inside Afghanistan this winter.

The UN says it is the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Click here to return

The BBC's Matt Frei
reports from Quetta, one of the worst affected areas in Pakistan
UK International Development secretary, Clare Short
"We need to open borders and get food into Afghanistan"
Oxfam's director for Afghanistan John Fairhurst
"Oxfam is pleased that donors are reacting positively"
See also:

27 Sep 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Afghanistan's future
27 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair calls for aid alliance
27 Sep 01 | South Asia
Afghans brace for US strike
11 Jan 01 | South Asia
Afghan refugees' unending plight
22 Sep 01 | South Asia
Pakistan's fear of refugee flood
25 Sep 01 | South Asia
Pakistan warns of Afghan instability
25 Sep 01 | South Asia
The wild border town of Quetta
26 Sep 01 | South Asia
Afghans place hopes in UN
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