UN backing Pakistan’s rescue and relief efforts in avalanches, rain-hit regions: Spokesman


UNITED NATIONS, Jan 22 (APP):The United Nations and its humanitarian agencies are supporting Pakistan government-led response efforts to the heavy rain, snowfall and avalanches that struck parts of Balochistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, causing heavy loss of life and property, a UN spokesman said Tuesday.

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told the regular noon briefing UN Headquarters in New York that many remote villages are cut off, without fuel, electricity and with extremely limited access.

As of Monday, 105 people have reportedly been killed as a result of the deadly weather conditions in northern and south-western Pakistan and nearly 1,300 houses were damaged.

The spokesman said that the UN and its partners are providing food items, winterized tents and warm clothing, blankets and non-food items, in addition to heavy machinery to clear snow, dewatering pumps and power generators.

Authorities also have sought support from the humanitarian agencies for rescue and relief operations, he said.

Rescue efforts are ongoing and major highways and roads are being cleared in the affected provinces; however, access to remote areas and villages is extremely limited, the spokesman added.

Similarly, the spokesman said heavy snowfall, flooding and avalanches impacted 11 of 34 provinces in Afghanistan last week.

The UN and humanitarian agencies are helping the Afghan government’s response and assessment in the impacted areas, he said. Many areas are still inaccessible, so the scale of the impact is not fully clear yet.

In accessible areas, emergency shelter, warm clothing, food and non-food items, as well as hygiene kits are urgently needed.