United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Anjelina Jolie is an advocate for those in peril worldwide.

UNHCR benefits from the high profile support of its Goodwill Ambassadors like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and other celebrities. Their messages and short films in support of key campaigns, events and emergency appeals, help give powerful voice to the refugee cause.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Pakistan

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Pakistan
to rescue earthquake survivors

Angelina Jolie visit in Pakistan

Goodwill Ambassador Jolie sees urgency of more aid in Pakistan

JABEL SHAROON, Pakistan, Nov 28 (UNHCR) UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie peered through the helicopter window at mile after mile of destroyed houses, and at the meagre possessions of poor Pakistanis buried in rubble strewn down the mountain sides.

“You fly over the area and you can’t believe it,” said Jolie during her three-day visit for the UN refugee agency that ended on Saturday. “No one sitting at home has any idea what this really looks like. It is unbelievable. For 20 minutes flying we just saw one house after another broken. There is nothing standing.”

The Goodwill Ambassador came to see first-hand the impact of the October 8 earthquake that killed at least 73,000 people and left tens of thousands homeless in one of the poorest areas of a generally impoverished country. From high-altitude villages where assistance is just arriving, to the almost totally destroyed city of Balakot, to the hospital in Islamabad where thousands of injured were treated, she heard from survivors about the horror of the earthquake and their fears for the future.

UNHCR, mandated to protect refugees, is not normally involved in natural disasters. But for the second time in a year this earthquake and the tsunami that devastated the coasts of south and south-east Asia last December the UN refugee agency found itself at the centre of an overwhelming humanitarian crisis.

As in Sri Lanka, where UNHCR has long been active, the agency has been in Pakistan for three decades assisting Afghan refugees. Within hours of the earthquake, UNHCR had opened its warehouses and began distributing tents, blankets and plastic sheeting to the victims of the earthquake.

“It is an obligation to be here and to help the people of Pakistan, and to stand by them at this time after having seen them do so much for the Afghan people over the years,” Jolie told reporters at a joint news conference with UNHCR High Commissioner António Guterres on Friday in Islamabad. Guterres was in the middle of a major tour of the region, and had also visited the devastated earthquake zone the previous day.

“I’m sorry it’s something we have to do. I’m sorry we’re in this situation, but I am so glad to be here for them,” said Jolie, whose two previous visits to Pakistan had been to meet Afghan refugees.

The UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador learned first-hand that this earthquake presents extreme challenges requiring sustained assistance the initial disaster could be followed by a second as the harsh winter begins to grip the Himalayan slopes where people lost their houses.

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