The Pakistan government estimates that nearly seven hundred thousand Afghan refugees have fled their country since the change of government in Afghanistan last December (1979).
LV PAN & CU Afghan refugees waiting to register outside Refugee Commission offices in Peshawar (4 shots)
SV PAN Sign reading "Afghan Refugee Camp Badaber" with tents in background(2 shots)
SV Afghan men in camp (2 shots)
SV, TV & CU Camp commander taking fingerprints and giving money to refugees (4 shots)
SV Refugees watch as one refugee changes money with another
SV & LV & CU Children playing in water in camp (4 shots)
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Background: The Pakistan government estimates that nearly seven hundred thousand Afghan refugees have fled their country since the change of government in Afghanistan last December (1979). Earlier this month (April) Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Adviser Afha Shahi repeated calls for the creation of conditions in Afghanistan that would permit the voluntary return of the refugee in safety and honour. The refugees are living in makeshift border camps.
SYNOPSIS: Pakistan's North West Frontier province has taken the bulk of the refugees and there are thirteen camps in the Peshawar area. On their arrival the Afghans must register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in order to become eligible for aid allowances.
Badaber, outside Peshawar, is typical of most refugee camps in the province. Not all the refugees can be accommodated here. Many others are living independently in the mountains. Resources are limited and for Pakistan the refugees have become a burden.
Inside the camp an Afghan representative distributes money. Responsibility for food, tents, health, clothing and education has largely been taken over by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees but the Pakistan Government has continued to provide regular monetary allowances. As long ago as May 1979, Pakistan began distributing money to the refugees trickling across the frontier, but with the Soviet moves last December (1979) the number of refugees increased and Pakistan found herself unable to maintain the level of aid. In February this year (1980) Pakistan halved the monthly hand outs but still distributes over one and a half million pounds (3 million U.S. dollars) each month. It is money that underdeveloped Pakistan can ill afford. Blankets, grain, milk and dried foods are being provided by various international relief organisations.
Many of the children in Badaber Camp are orphans who lost their fathers during the recent fighting gin Afghanistan. Some refugees have brought their livestock with them and the millions of cattle now grazing in the mountains are putting further strains on Pakistan's natural resources.