Internally displaced persons (IDPs) at Jalozai Camp demanded sheds for protection against the scorching weather, electricity and clean drinking water.
According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), 12,442 families have migrated from the troubled Khyber Agency. This figure includes 85 families from Tirah Valley, who recently had to leave their livelihood, their homes to escape the violent battles taking place between militants and the Pakistan Army.
Haji Gul, from Bara, said his family had received electric fans last summer but had not received anything from the government or aid organisations this year. IDPs were facing prolonged electricity problems as well, added Gul.
“During the day we bear the heat, but at night we cannot sleep because of insects, mosquitoes. We stay awake all night to fan our children,” complained the father.
Muhammad Gul, an elderly person belonging to Tirah Valley, said there was an acute water shortage and the condition of the sanitation system made things worse for Jalozai residents. “Open gutters are dangerous for small children.”
Another displaced person, Awal Khan Afridi noted the tents were in a horrible condition and children were suffering from various sicknesses. “The doctor always prescribes the same tablets for every patient.”
Other IDPs had similar complaints – some mentioning lack of cool drinking water and water coolers in the camp.
Meanwhile, Jalozai Camp Coordinator Khalid Usman maintained every kind of basic facility was being provided to the IDPs. The camp had been divided into eight phases and electricity has been made available in all phases recently, shared the coordinator.
Non-government organisations (NGO) were also helping provide basic necessities, added Usman. When asked about electric fans, he claimed no relief organisations had made contact with the administration in this regard yet.
Regarding the prolonged electricity outages, Usman stated the PDMA had paid the electricity bill in full, claiming this problem was not confined to Jalozai camp; it had engulfed the entire country.
Acute respiratory infection, skin diseases like scabies, and fever were common among IDPs living in the camp, and, Usman added, international organisations were working with the camp administration to provide all health related facilities to the IDPs.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2013.
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