To be an internally-displaced person (IDP) comes with its own baggage. While Hunar Khan, 23 recalls the comforts of his 20-kanal farmhouse in the Bara Sub-Division of Khyber Agency, he is forced to live with a family of 15 in a three-marla rented house. Clashes between the militants and security forces drove him to seek refuge in Peshawar. However, he was unable to find a decent place to live in. His rented house on the Kohat Road does not have a kitchen and a washroom. “No one pays heed to the problems of poor people,” said Khan.
Another IDP Jan Bahdir Khan and his family abandoned their home six months back due to ‘security concerns’. The only occupation he could afford was to transport vegetables to the local market on a donkey cart, but economic conditions compelled him to leave his rented house and live in the Jalozai camp.
Gulzar Khan, 50, who reached Peshawar three months back from Akakhel area of Bara is now living in Nauthia in a two-room flat. “We may have received more aid, had we lived at the camp, but I cannot expose my teenage daughters to strangers, living next door.”
“Only 15 per cent of the IDPS actually stay in the camps,” said the General Secretary of Al-Khidmat Foundation, a non-profit organisation has working for the welfare of internally IDPs. Most of them opted to move to houses of relatives or rented houses, he added.
Almost 7.3 per cent communities of IDPs do not have any food stock for about three day. About 40 per cent have received no food assistance, while a significant number is not provided food ration despite being registered at the camp, he added. “Lack of clarity over timings of distribution and the cost of transportation to the camp are main factors behind all the chaos,” he added. Health, sanitation and child welfare issues are also confronted by IDPs outside the camp, adding, “Outside the camp majority of the children are deprived of education, Sultan said.
On the other hand, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) spokesperson Adnan Khan while talking to The Express Tribune, said that they have arranged for 50,000 families at the Jalozai Camp. “Over 64,851 families are registered and only 11,302 families have opted to live in the camp,” he said. The PDMA is providing all basic facilities to the IDPs, but has no authority to forcefully invite somebody to start living in the camp, he added. According to the data of PDMA, the total number of IDPs who fled Khyber Agency due to the ongoing military operation is 0.3 million. Out of which 56,008 are living in camp and 0.2 million living off the camp.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2012.