ISLAMABAD: As many as 74 percent of more than 455,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) of the North Waziristan Agency (NWA) are women and children, with 380,000 people displaced in over a week, a United Nations report reveals.
As of Wednesday, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) reported registering over 455,000 IDPs (36,700 families). This number, according to the UN, far exceeds the initial estimates of 250,000 IDPs from the NWA. “The displacements appear to have ceased from the designated exit points from NWA, as the authorities re-imposed a curfew following a five-day relaxation that allowed over 350,000 people to move out of the conflict zone. However, further displacements are expected as the security operation is extended to other parts of the Agency,” states the first situation report on NWA displacements issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Pakistan.
It says the majority of the IDPs are women (32 percent) and children (42 percent). The displaced people, the report states, are facing hardships due to security restrictions, lack of transport, and inflated fares when exiting. So far, (by Wednesday), says the OCHA report, the government’s established IDPs camp in Bannu has only 20 families. “The government made provisions for the fleeing families, however, due to the mass exodus, their facilities are overwhelmed. The government has established a camp in FR Bannu, yet, almost all of the IDPs are choosing to live with friends and relatives, in rented accommodations, or in temporary shelters, such as government schools –which were closed two weeks early for summer season to accommodate the displaced families,” it states adding that the huge influx of IDPs has put a strain on the already existing facilities in the hosting areas.
Over 800 schools are being used as shelters in Bannu. Schools are also being used in Kurrum Agency. Children were released from school two weeks early for summer holidays, to vacate the schools for use. Pointing to the looming threat of polio spread in the areas affected by displacements, OCHA says the displacements are creating opportunities to vaccinate children against polio, most of whom had never received a vaccine. At the same time, movement of the displaced people into new location carries a threat of spread of polio into new areas.
The government health teams, supported by the UN, are vaccinating people at exit points from the NWA. On the funding requirements for the IDPs, the UN humanitarian agency says, international humanitarian donors have pledged $14.5 million. The exact funding requirements, as yet, are not known and the assessment of the situation is underway. The federal government has announced Rs 500 million ($5 million), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government Rs 350 million ($3.5 million) and Punjab government Rs 500 million ($5 million) for the IDPs support.
Each registered IDPs family is receiving Rs 12,000 ($120) to meet their immediate needs. The government has distributed cash relief of Rs 19,224,000 ($192,240) to more than 1,600 families for their food and non-food items (NFIs). The UN says its team comprising UN Department for Safety and Security and OCHA is conducting an assessment on security, physical access, and the overall humanitarian situation to Dera Ismail Khan and Bannu districts. Additionally, the team will assess the potential vulnerability related to the monsoon rains to the physical access routes and the response.
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