Pakistan is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries. On top of this, it suffers some of the worst food shortages and chronic malnutrition rates in the world.
The situation is compounded by the presence of millions of Afghan migrants and refugees, of which many are undocumented.
Moreover, for many years, military and insurgent operations in Pakistan have caused human suffering and large-scale internal displacement.
What are the needs?
Pakistan is home to close to 4 million Afghan migrants and refugees, from which the authority estimates that around 1.7 million are undocumented.
The Government of Pakistan’s decided to start deporting all undocumented foreign nationals as of 1 November 2023. After this decision, thousands of Afghans in Pakistan have headed back to Afghanistan. Many of them have called Pakistan home for decades and have nothing to go back to.
The dramatic increase in returns also threatens to worsen Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis, while many Afghans who sought refuge abroad could be at imminent risk if forced to return.
Providing protection and basic lifesaving services for the most vulnerable Afghans in Pakistan, including those without documentation, remains a key priority for EU humanitarian aid.
Pakistan also experiences frequent disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and recurrent droughts.
Malnutrition and limited access to water, sanitation and medical services have compromised the health care capacities of the most vulnerable communities. In addition, COVID-19 and the 2022 floods worsened the already pressing humanitarian needs.
A year after the floods, Pakistan is currently facing an imminent nutrition crisis, exacerbated by pre-existing high rates of malnutrition in flood-affected regions. As of June 2023, around 10.5 million people in vulnerable provinces of Pakistan are facing acute food insecurity.
Since June this year, Pakistan has experienced heavy rainfall which resulted in flooding and landslides in some areas. The country is struggling to recover from last year’s devastating floods.
How are we helping?
In 2023, the EU has already allocated €18.5 million in humanitarian support, which adds to the total funding to Pakistan since 2016, amounting to over €138 million. This funding aims to assist people recovering from the 2022 floods, as well as to support refugees, their host communities, and disaster preparedness actions.
EU humanitarian aid in Pakistan supports:
- people affected by natural hazards
- Afghan refugees and host communities
- those affected by conflict, including Pakistani internally displaced and returnees.
More than 50% of Afghan refugees in Pakistan are considered extremely poor, according to official data. EU-funded humanitarian projects assist them with healthcare services, nutrition, education, water and sanitation facilities, and legal protection services.
Displaced Pakistanis, both in their areas of refuge and in the destroyed areas to which they have returned, receive support for education, and access to water and sanitation.
The EU also supports programmes to enhance the disaster preparedness capabilities of communities in areas prone to both natural hazards and human-induced disasters. Current initiatives focus on strengthening national and provincial systems to prepare for and respond to, recurrent droughts, floods and other disasters.
Major floods and landslides wreaked havoc across Pakistan’s 4 provinces, affecting nearly 900,000 people earlier this year. In response, the EU allocated €1 million to help its partners on the ground to scale up their relief efforts.
This affected a population still recovering from the unprecedented 2022 summer floods. These floods caused over 1,700 deaths and affected over 33 million people in the country.
In response, the EU mobilised €30 million channelled into humanitarian programmes between the initial allocation and the budget reinforcement for the flood response. We also coordinated the incoming assistance from EU Member States channelled through its Civil Protection Mechanism.
The EU has operated in Pakistan since the 1990s providing humanitarian assistance including to people affected by the 2005 earthquake and the devastating 2010-2011 floods.
Last updated: 21/11/2023
Facts & figures
An estimated 3.7 million documented and undocumented displaced Afghans
EU humanitarian aid:
€18.5 million in 2023
Over €138million since 2016