Crisis ongoing: World turns blind eye to IDPs from Khyber Agency

Published: April 7, 2012

A young boy walks past IDPs queuing up for food rations. PHOTO: FILE

Intensifying conflict in Pakistan’s Khyber Agency has forced more than a quarter of a million people to flee their homes since January, according to an international  humanitarian agency.

Thousands of families, including over 100,000 children, have not got enough food, water or shelter, and are vulnerable to disease, stated a press release by Save the Children.

A Pakistani military operation against suspected militant groups in the remote area has prompted an exodus of families desperate to escape the fighting, with increasing numbers fleeing their homes for the relative safety of displacement camps and host families in neighbouring areas.

Over the past week, an estimated 60,000 people have arrived at a single camp in Jalozi and others have flooded into nearby towns and villages.

Hundreds of thousands more are expected to follow in coming weeks, but despite the huge numbers of people on the move, the crisis has attracted very little international attention.

“Thousands of children are arriving, many of them deeply distressed by the conflict,” said David Wright, country director Save the Children Pakistan.

Having fled for safety, their families are forced to choose between grim conditions in the camps or cramming into their relatives’ homes. They urgently need help.

“We are already seeing rates of disease rise in the camps, and conditions outside are reported to be even worse,” Wright added. The world needs to wake up fast to this escalating crisis.”

Save the Children expects to spend at least $9 million to help 200,000 of the most vulnerable children and their families.

The aid agency will provide healthcare and basic hygiene kits to protect families from disease outbreaks, and is setting up safe places for children to play to help them recover from difficult experiences.

The charity is also distributing life-saving and life-sustaining supplies such as shelter kits, blankets, food and water to those displaced by the fighting.

Most families are staying with relatives and friends in overcrowded households, which are already under strain following earlier crises.

The continuing military operations mean it is unlikely that they will be able to return home in the near future. Save the Children and other aid agencies are on the ground, but with so little international attention, raising enough money to fund the response may prove very difficult.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2012.

Reader Comments (10)

  • faraz
    Apr 7, 2012 - 10:01AM

    Poor people crushed between mullahs and military

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  • hajjiali
    Apr 7, 2012 - 10:37AM

    Where is hafeez sayeed and fyzul rehman now. Why western agencies should provide aid and money are thesr mullas thrre only to create prob inside pakistan?

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  • Harry Stone
    Apr 7, 2012 - 10:56AM

    To support these people would seem to a function of the government of PAK. It is unfortunate the government chose to buy laptops instead of provide medical care, food, water and shelter for these children.

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  • popsaeed
    Apr 7, 2012 - 11:20AM

    @Harry Stone:
    Its laptop that they know about problem of saving pakistn children please help those children rather then taunting

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  • vasan
    Apr 7, 2012 - 11:48AM

    Crisis on going ???
    Sayeed turns blind eye to IDPS from Khyber agency? Will he attend to this

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  • Apr 7, 2012 - 1:37PM

    @vasan:
    Please. These people are not the responsibility of any x-y-z person or organization. They are responsibility of the Dollar-hungry Govt and establishment who are eating the billions of dollars that come as Mercenary Fee for Pakistan’s role in this American “War of Terror”.

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  • vasan
    Apr 7, 2012 - 4:28PM

    Tehreek-e-Insaf FATA : I understand that, I got so peed off by the comments in ET portraying Sayeed as a holy angel aiding everyone under duress in Pakistan. I couldnt resist that comment.

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  • Harry Stone
    Apr 7, 2012 - 7:28PM

    @popsaeed:

    It is about making choices. You might feel buying laptops was a good choice. It might have been if PAK had more money than it knew what to do with but it does not. The idea that something like this or a flood or some other event is not going to happen during the year is just naive. The government should be prepared for these events. Part of being prepared is to have money purchase what is needed.

    So maybe all the good people who got laptops and now know about these children will sent lots of money for their support.

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  • Chand
    Apr 7, 2012 - 9:16PM

    I am Indian and I do believe Pakistan have IDP issue far larger than reported or talked.

    Refugees…

    http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/pakistan/B111-pakistan-the-worsening-idp-crisis.aspx

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  • qaim khab
    Apr 18, 2012 - 1:40PM

    IDPs are not responsibility of KPK Govt!!
    People in the VERY UPPER Management of Pakistan are selling Pakhtoon Blood.Who are buyers? we do not know this, but we know that we are sold!!!
    So do not blame Mullahs and other people.
    Ask Govt of Pakistan to stop selling us.
    We guess terrorism is Planned in Pakistan.By whom? we have no answer….
    People in KPK are made IDPs, and than they are given food and water for survival.
    Amazing game……!!!!!

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