Islamabad, Pakistan (BBN) The United Nations appealed for a total of US$543 million on Friday to help 1.7 million people displaced by the ongoing military offensive in northwest Pakistan.

The appeal comes as people continue to stream out of the conflict zone into camps set up in different parts of the country’s North West Frontier Province.

A total of US$543 million will be needed to implement 165 projects, presented by 52 U.N. agencies, as also national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), according to the UN Information Centre estimation.

With the U.S. having already committed $88 million, another $454 would still be required, the UN Information Centre said in a press statement.

The fund is also needed to provide continuing support to 550,000 people who had fled the situation since August, 2009.

U.N. agencies and humanitarian partners, including Pakistani and foreign NGOs and the federal and provincial authorities, “are working together to ensure to get relief to people as quickly and effectively as possible, and sustain services to them over the coming months”, the statement added.

However, diplomats based in Islamabad have expressed concern over the situation in Swat and said their home governments were actively considering further aid in response to the latest UN appeal, according to reports.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-23May09-10:52 am (BST)