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Pakistan: better access to food and health care is a priority in Swat, Dir and Buner

09-07-2009 Operational Update

The ICRC has considerably increased its operations in response to the crisis in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province. It is working closely with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society and other partners within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to assist over 350,000 people affected adversely by hostilities.

   

  © The Netherlands Red Cross/Jeroen Oerlemans    
 
  Displaced people in Swabi receive meals from the Pakistan Red Crescent.    
     

The ICRC has considerably increased its operations in response to the crisis in P akistan’s North-West Frontier Province. It is working closely with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society and other partners within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to assist over 350,000 people affected adversely by hostilities.

" The needs of those affected by the fighting in the North-West Frontier Province, especially access to health services and food, remain considerable, " said Alexandre Faîte, the ICRC's deputy head of delegation in Pakistan. " We are consolidating our presence in Dir and Buner and, as families displaced by the fighting start to return to their homes, we will be helping them. "

The ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent continue to work with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to assist internally displaced persons (IDPs) within and outside camps in Malakand, Nowshera and Swabi districts. The camps are being prepared for the monsoon season.

 Swat  

In general the security situation is improving in southern Swat. Despite the curfews still in place in much of the district, thousands of families have been returning to their homes. However, many Swat residents, including recent returnees, still have difficulty getting access to food and health care. Last week, the ICRC provided the Mingora Saidu Teaching Hospital with food for both patients and staff.

    

 Lower Dir/Upper Dir    
  © The Netherlands Red Cross/Jeroen Oerlemans   
 
  Gujur left the Swat valley with the 77 members of his family.    
     

The ICRC continues to operate in Lower Dir despite a volatile security situation. In recent days, it has distributed food and soap to over 10,000 displaced people staying with host families in Koto, Khal and Rabt Rhani. In Upper Dir, the organization has distributed food and other items to over 19,300 displaced people in Barwayl and Wary over the past week.

 Buner  

Thousands of displaced people are now returning to their homes or host families in the district by private buses, trucks or taxis. The security situation in eastern Buner remains difficult, with sporadic clashes. Last week, the ICRC provided over 2,000 people in Sultan Was with food and other items.

 Waziristan  

 

Ongoing hostilities have caused major population movements, but most of those who have been displaced have chosen to stay with host families in Waziristan and other parts of Pakistan. There are no camps for displaced people in Waziristan, and reaching IDPs who have entered the region is likely to remain a challenge. The ICRC has given health-care facilities in and near Waziristan kits for stabilizing and treating the wounded. The ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent are assessing the coping mechanisms of resident families so as to be ready to assist them rapidly if needed.