Intended for healthcare professionals


UN tries to secure safe corridors for humanitarian aid in Pakistan

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 20 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2042
  1. John Zarocostas1,
  2. Peter Moszynski2
  1. 1Geneva
  2. 2London

    United Nations relief officials have called for international aid to help nearly one million displaced people and to help large numbers of civilians trapped in the escalating conflict between Pakistan’s armed forces and Taliban militants in the country’s north west.

    “Circumstances in these areas are very, very difficult. Supplies of electricity have been cut, which means often water systems are not functioning,” said Martin Mogwanja, the UN’s acting coordinator for Pakistan.

    “The monetary system is not functioning because the banks have been closed, and the food supply is very limited because there is no means of distribution with many road blocks in all directions.

    “We’re also concerned that a major hospital near Mingora, the capital town of Swat district, has had to be closed, and the doctors have evacuated themselves due to insecurity,” the UN official told reporters in Geneva in a teleconference.

    “This means that there’s very limited medical capacity in those areas to respond to urgent medical needs of those who may be wounded in the fighting.”

    Mr Mogwanja said that the humanitarian community is considering the establishment of safe corridors in the region, but noted, “It is very difficult to make the necessary contacts and to obtain the necessary guarantees …

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