ISLAMABAD: Funding constraints continue to pose fresh challenges to the provision of humanitarian assistance for over a million Internally Displaced Persons (IDS) of North Waziristan Agency (NWA), as the United Nations requires $ 99 million to effectively respond to the unfolding emergency in the north-west.
Launched by the UN and humanitarian partners under the umbrella of Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), in consultation with the Government of Pakistan, the Preliminary Response Plan (PRP) requires $ 99 million for vital humanitarian assistance to support 500,000 IDPs for six months while the world body says it has not lately received any funding. So far, the donors have pledged or contributed only $ 22.5 for the affectees of military action in NWA whose number has reportedly exceeded 1,050,000.
Separately, the Pakistani government initially released 500 million rupees for the IDPs in Bannu of which over Rs 400 million have been spent, sources in the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) shared with Daily Times. “Major chunk of this money has been spent on ration and shelter,” the officials said adding that the SAFRON Ministry has requested the Prime Minister Secretariat for releasing additional funds. “The existing funds are exhausting and additional funds are needed to enable IDPs meet basic challenges such as payments for rented accommodations and provision of monthly cash assistance entitled to the registered IDPs families,” the sources said.
Talking to Daily Times, PM Secretariat’s Spokesman and Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid said the government’s funds for IDPs do not cover the humanitarian assistance provided by the UN agencies and are part of overall Rs 6 billion earmarked by the PM secretariat for the IDPs help. “There is a huge amount of funds we have allocated for the NWA affectees to tackle the IDPs management in military operation and post-operation periods,” he said. To a query, the minister said the Pakistani government did not seek funds from international community or foreign assistance for the IDPs. “If UN and humanitarian agencies seek funds from donors, it’s a separate thing. It’s in line with their standard procedure, the way humanitarian organisations operate. The government has not requested for funds from the world community and we are rendering every possible support to humanitarian agencies working here.” According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Pakistan, priority needs remain around food, health, protection, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities.
Urgent funding resources are needed to continue scaling up the humanitarian response, suggests a recent report from OCHA on the NWA IDPs. The OCHA seeks immediate provision of additional funds from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). These funds are pending reportedly due to the allocation of funds for humanitarian emergencies worldwide. “On 10 July, a CERF application for priority clusters was resubmitted to the CERF Secretariat. Final approval is still pending,” OCHA states in its report. No funds remain in the ERF for disbursement, it adds.
A humanitarian official, requesting anonymity, told Daily Times that the funding scenario for the NWA IDPs was marked with challenges mainly because the Pakistani government did not want the UN to launch a flash appeal for the IDPs and did not, therefore, made a related request to the world body. “There are certain obligations that bind the donors for generous humanitarian funding when flash appeal is launched in any given situation in any part of the world. But the Government of Pakistan has not so requested. The humanitarian partners are seeking funds outside the flash appeal which, in existing circumstances, is quite a challenge due to ongoing humanitarian emergencies worldwide, as in the Middle East and African regions,” the source shared.
The OCHA says lack of information on service, assistance and support available still remains a concern, particularly for displaced women, requiring urgent information dissemination/outreach through diversified communication tools.
Protection rapid assessment indicates women have access challenges to health services including reproductive health (RH) services due to various constraints such as cultural barrier to visit male doctors, and a lack of information on available services, female health workers and transportation cost. “There is a need for expanded mobile health teams with female health workers. Health care services including RH are lacking specifically for gender based violence (GBV) survivors,” the UN humanitarian agency suggests.
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