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AmeriCares Airlift to Help Pakistan’s Refugees

  • August 24, 2009

Despite a lull in the fighting, Pakistan remains in conflict with Taliban militants. Over three million innocent people fled fighting in the the Swat Valley and throughout the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) earlier this year. Thousands of displaced families still crowd tent cities, refugee camps and temporary housing in neighboring Peshawar.

Many refugees in Pakistan remain fearful and are waiting for the violence to subside completely before they go home. Others have returned only to find rubble and explosive shells where their homes once stood. To help these vulnerable families, AmeriCares is sending an airlift with $300,000 worth of medical aid to help with their desperate health care needs. An AmeriCares relief worker in Pakistan reports that the Swat Valley’s stock of medicines and supplies has dwindled to almost nothing.

“Deliveries were stopped for three months during the height of the conflict. Most health clinics, pharmacies and medical supply stores are still closed,” said the relief worker. “The local hospital is open, but returning families will mainly depend on aid organizations for basic health care. AmeriCares continued aid deliveries will be a great help.”

The new delivery includes medicines and supplies to help people suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, painful injuries, serious infections and malnutrition. To protect against the spread of airborne diseases, AmeriCares is sending thousands of infection control masks for health workers. Special pediatric supplies and hygiene kits will also help thousands of children stay healthier – protecting them from infections and diseases. This latest delivery comes on the heels of an airlift we delivered in May.

AmeriCares emergency airlift in May included critical supplies needed for safe surgeries and wound care. Pain relievers and medications for people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, were also delivered. The medical aid played a vital role for local organizations’ health facilities for displaced families.

“Our supplies were almost gone. There was no relief in sight and we were worried we wouldn’t be able to arrange for more medicines,” said Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman of Relief International. “The AmeriCares delivery arrived just in time.”

In January, as part of AmeriCares ongoing work with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Pakistan, a shipment of medical supplies was delivered – more than half of which were sent to the Swat Valley where they were used in hospitals and clinics treating civilians wounded in the conflict. Another shipment to the WHO in Pakistan is slated for September.

Since 1982, AmeriCares has delivered nearly $47 million in assistance to Pakistan.  In 2005 when a 7.6 magnitude earthquake left three million people homeless in Pakistan, AmeriCares provided emergency aid, supported the rebuilding of local health centers and established a state-of-the-art field hospital.

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