In the lurch : IDPs from Eidak face food, water shortage

Published: August 22, 2014
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 Volunteers arrange food packs for people fleeing military offensive in North Waziristan
PHOTO: REUTERS

Volunteers arrange food packs for people fleeing military offensive in North Waziristan PHOTO: REUTERS

BANNU/PESHAWAR: 

Displaced persons from Eidak in Mirali subdivision of North Waziristan Agency say they are facing an acute shortage of food and medicines.

Earlier in June, the tribesmen from Eidak had refused to abandon their homes when the government ordered evacuation from North Waziristan in light of military operation Zarb-e-Azb. They claimed that they have resisted sheltering both local and foreign militants in the area since September 2006 and therefore Eidak has remained relatively safe. The authorities first agreed to their demand, but later decided to extend the evacuation process to Eidak.

Following intensive consultations and meetings, tribesmen agreed to leave their homes but demanded accommodation in a tent village near their villages and hamlets. The government then established a tent village in Pir Kalay on Mirali-Mianshah Road, accommodating 40,000 individuals.

Elders from the Dawar tribe of North Waziristan held a jirga with the Bannu division commissioner on Thursday where they invited attention to the problems faced by displaced people. Led by tribal chief Malik Nasarullah, they said there is an acute shortage of food, drinking water, medicine and other facilities at the tent village. Nasarullah added the people were being affected by many diseases as a result.

The elders demanded authorities provide them with the necessities by Friday, saying they would otherwise be compelled to move back to their homes or other safe places.

Yearning for home

Elders from North Waziristan Agency on Thursday threatened to stage a sit-in outside the Parliament House in Islamabad if displaced persons living in schools across the province are made to relocate.

Demanding repatriation to areas cleared of militants in the ongoing military operation, the elders said a total of 10 tehsils in the restive agency had been cleared while the operation was under way in the remaining five.

Addressing a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club, Malik Noor Rahman Dawar, who is a member of an aman jirga, said one million tribesmen had been displaced as a result of the operation. He complained both the federal and provincial governments had failed to provide adequate facilities to them.

Dawar said almost 25,000 displaced families were residing in various government schools in K-P but now they have received a notice asking them to vacate schools before August 30. “The FATA Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) has given helpline numbers to address problems being faced by IDPs. However, we have tried the helpline numbers time and again but did not get any response.”

He added the package announced by FDMA to be given to elders of the families is insufficient because a single family consists of more than 70 to 80 persons. “Those IDPs who have dual addresses on their national identity cards (NIC) are not registered or provided any facilities,” said Dawar, claiming only 200,000 IDPs got relief good from the provincial and federal government while the others are still waiting for assistance.

The peace committee member demanded the government to ensure provision of rations and other necessities to tribesmen.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2014.

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