ISLAMABAD, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- An airlift of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) relief supplies arrived in the Pakistani southwestern city of Quetta on Monday to help the soaring numbers of flood victims in the cities and towns of Balochistan province, reported local media on Tuesday.
Four Pakistan government planes (C130-Hercules) moved 64 tonnes of tents, plastic sheets, mosquito nets, from UNHCR stockpiles in the northwestern Peshawar to Quetta to help speed up relief efforts. More airlifts are expected in the coming days, pending availability of aircraft.
Over the weekend tens of thousands of people fled the southern Sindh town of Jacobabad to Sibbi, Nasirabad and Quetta districts of Balochistan, with more on the move triggered by further flood warnings in the border towns.
Many of the people rushing into Balochistan are taking refuge in communal buildings like schools, hospitals and stadiums. Some are living under the open skies. They join tens of thousands flood victims in the province bringing the current estimate of displaced people and others severely affected by floods in Balochistan to around 545,000 people.
Figures are likely to change as assessments continue.
"We are facing serious challenges moving enough relief supplies into the province to meet the ever mounting numbers of people in need of shelter," said Mr Bekele Nagash, Head of UNHCR's office in Balochistan, who is coordinating humanitarian relief efforts in the province.
To date, the UN refugee agency in Balochistan has helped some 46,000 people in Sibbi, Nasirabad, Kholu and Jaffarabad districts with shelter materials like tents, plastic sheets, mosquito nets and buckets. The office is hoping to help some 90,000 people but urgently needs more aid.