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36,000 Pakistani quake victims have left camps

36,000 Pakistani quake victims have already left relief camps for home, UN says

The first relief camps in Pakistan’s quake zone have been emptied after more than 36,000 people left for their homes as part of the return process that started earlier this month with the end of winter, according to the United Nations refugee agency, the lead agency for camp management after last October’s disaster.

Millions are estimated to have lost their homes in the quake, which killed more than 73,000 people and injured nearly 70,000 more.

With 134 emergency staff and 60 mobile technical and camp management teams, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is currently supporting the Pakistan authorities in caring for more than 125,000 survivors living in 153 camps.

Camp dwellers say some of their main concerns are the availability of land, repairing damaged roads, shelter, drinking water and food in their villages, UNHCR reported.

One returnee from a camp in the Batagram area, where some 15,000 people have left the camps since 10 March, described his situation as very difficult.

“I am not happy staying here but then I will not be happy back in my village either because I will have no home yet,” said Gul Bashir, who left with his family of six last Friday. He hopes to rebuild his home, but in the meantime he plans to pitch his tent next to where his home, still in rubble, once stood in the village.

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