January 11 2002
SOS Children's Villages helps in Pakistani Peschawar
11/01/2002 - While UNHCR and UNICEF concentrate on implementing health and sanitary measures on the northern border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, SOS Children's Villages has been running an emergency relief programme to benefit Afghan refugees since December 2001.
Following efforts since autumn 2001, SOS Children's Villages Pakistan was one of the first private social organisations to receive official permission to provide emergency relief for Afghan refugees in the border town of Peschawar before the new year. Up until then, it had been up to the Pakistani authorities to control the security situation on the border with Afghanistan, introduce relief measures as well as run refugee camps and make them accessible to NGOs.
Thanks to its good reputation and long-standing work (six SOS Children's Villages, SOS Youth Facilities and SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools, three SOS Vocational Training Centres, and three further facilities being planned), SOS Children's Villages Pakistan has been successfully carrying out a wide-ranging action in co-operation with the Government to distribute warm clothes to 10,000 people in need.
This clothes distribution was organised in the large refugee camp Shamshatoo, located approximately 60 km south of Peschawar. Schools located within the camps, which reopened their doors at the end of Ramadan, were used as distribution points.
SOS Children's Villages plans to set up its own provisional school in the immediate vicinity of the Shamshatoo refugee camp very soon, which will include both primary and secondary levels for 250 pupils each. A medical station will also open shortly, which will aim to treat 300 patients daily between 9am - 5pm, as the current provision of medical care to around 12,000 people in the refugee camp is insufficient.
In addition, SOS Children's Villages Pakistan is working intensively to establish a medical centre in Peschawar: in a rented and adapted building, 50 people will be able to receive in-patient care; out-patient care for injured and ill patients is also being planned. Local and qualified staff will be employed in all of these relief actions.
SOS Children's Villages Pakistan has applied to the authorities in Peschawar and Quetta, capital of the western province of Baluchistan, to take in orphans and unaccompanied minors currently living in the refugee camps. If permission is given, SOS Children's Villages will provide temporary accommodation and care for children, until a decision is made in conjunction with the authorities about their future.