Around 28,000 people have fled the Kurram tribal region where the military is conducting a fresh offensive, officials said on Tuesday.
Thousands of families escaped Kurram after the offensive was launched on Monday, with the army saying that artillery and fighter jets had swung into action to drive out “terrorists.”
The military was also aiming to open up the main road bisecting the district, which is often troubled by sectarian violence.
About 4,000 families, with an average seven members each, had already left, said government official Sahibzada Anis. More than 450 families were seeking shelter in camps or school buildings in the area while a majority of displaced people had gone to their relatives living in different places, he said.
“The authorities will provide food and relief goods to uprooted tribesmen as efforts are made to restore peace in the region,” said Anis.
Mubashir Akram, a spokesman for the British-based charity Oxfam, said the local administration expects 6,000 to 8,000 families to be displaced due to the current operation in central Kurram. “The need is far more than the capacity,” he warned.
The disaster management authority for Fata says it has urgently requested tents, food, washing facilities and non-food items from aid agencies.
Army spokesperson Major-General Athar Abbas said the operation will clear the area “of terrorists involved in all kinds of terrorist activities, including kidnapping and killing of locals, and suicide attacks.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2011.