As the number of internally displaced persons from North Waziristan swells to nearly 500,000, efforts to provide relief to the IDPs have stepped up in cities across the country, aiming to provide food and lifesaving drugs to the displaced population settling in Bannu.
Consignments of relief goods have left Islamabad and Rawalpindi for the IDP camps after aid agencies and other NGOs pack essential items in individual bags for every family.
The Pakistan Ex-servicemen Association (PESA) has dispatched its first consignment of relief goods this week, while the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has started with collecting cash donations as much as Rs400,000. At the moment, the PRCS is only collecting cash to purchase food and non-food items, but it also plans to establish camps all over for donations in other kind to facilitate 52,000 IDPs over a period of three months. They would require support of Rs424 million. The PRCS has also sent six mobile health units to Bannu, providing first aid and primary care to as many as 700 patients so far.
Separately, the administration of the UAE-Pakistan Assistance Program (UAE PAP) is also providing urgent humanitarian aid and food supplies valued at $2.5 million to 50,000 families in camps in Bannu. The UAE PAP said that 3,550 tonnes of food rations will be distributed in the form of 71 kilogrammes of food baskets, each containing flour, rice, dates, sugar, salt, lentils, oil and tea.
In Karachi, many political and religious charitable organisations as well as individuals have come forward to help. Fundraising camps can be seen dotting many parts of the metropolis where volunteers are collecting donations in all forms, including cash, medicines, edibles and drinking water.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has set up two relief camps, one outside the party’s headquarters, Nine-Zero, and the second, run by Khidmat-e-Khalaq Foundation (KKF) in Federal B Area. “We are receiving positive response from the people and so far we have dispatched two truckloads of foods, medicines and edibles,” MQM leader Aminul Haq told The Express Tribune.
Meanwhile, Al Khidmat Foundation of the Jamaat-e-Islami is collecting cash in Karachi for the IDPs while the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) is providing medical assistance.
The Awami National Party’s (ANP) youth wing, the National Youth Organisation (NYO) has set up camps in Keamari, Malir, Boat Basin and Hassan Square. “Our camps will collect funds and food items for a week after which we will dispatch them to IDPs’ camps,” Noor Islam Safi, the president of NYO Sindh, said.
Sindh Rangers have also set up camps in Karachi requesting cash donations and food supplies. The Sindh Rangers spokesperson told The Express Tribune that convoys of trucks carrying food, water and other necessities left for the camps in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa today (Monday).
Lawyer and social activist, Jibran Nasir has also appealed to those in Karachi for donations made online and at his camp, ‘Hum Qadam’, set up near Mohatta Palace and volunteers of all ages gathered at the camp on Sunday to organise ‘relief boxes’ for the IDPs.
In Lahore, relief camps have been set up in Lahore Cantt, DHA and Chunian Cantt by the Pakistan Army and online donations can be made via Askari Bank’s website.
Separately MNA Shaza Fatima Khawaja, general secretary of the Young Parliamentarians Forum is also collecting donations and relief goods and cash in Lahore and Islamabad.
Khawaja told The Express Tribune that people have been coming forward with potable water, medicines, flour and cash donations. Students at universities and colleges have also set up collection points for clothes, water, edible items and flour.
In Peshawar, Al-Khidmat Foundation and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation set up relief camps to aid the IDPs. Ziaur Rehman, in charge of activities at the Falah-e-Insaniat camps, told The Express Tribune that camps have been set up at Saddar Bazar, Firdous Chowk, University Town and Hayatabad, on the instructions of Jamaat-ud-Dawa central leader Hafiz Saeed and plans are under way to provide sehri and iftar to the IDPs. The relief goods are to be distributed in Bakakhel camp in Bannu include dry food items such as sugar and lentils. Eleven ambulances and a team of doctors have also been sent to the area. (With additional reporting by our correspondents in Lahore and Peshawar)
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2014.