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Pakistan: civilian population affected by ongoing fighting in North-West Frontier Province

27-05-2009 Operational Update

Armed conflict in several areas of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) continues to affect the civilian population, in particular in the Swat, Buner and Lower Dir districts. The ICRC has been providing support for hospitals and helping displaced people to meet their most basic needs.

" We remain very concerned about the situation of the civilian population still blocked in Mingora, " said Benno Kocher, the ICRC's head of sub-delegation in Peshawar. " We remind all parties that they must take every feasible precautionary measure to minimize civilian casualties. We also remind the parties that the wounded must be collected and cared for. In addition, access for humanitarian personnel must be facilitated. "

   
  ©Reuters/F. Mahmood    
 
Mardan, north west of Islamabad. A family fleeing a military offensive in the Swat valley finds temporary shelter at a school.    
    In Mingora, Swat's capital, where fighting has been unremitting for the past few days, most of the city's population has fled. Those who have stayed behind no longer have access to running water, electricity, medical care and other basic services. The district hospital is no longer operational.

In Buner, the district hospital in Daggar is still functioning, but with a skeleton staff and no running water. The hospital's generator and ambulance are usable again following delivery by the ICRC of 1,200 litres of fuel. The local prices of essential food items have risen even though there are fewer buyers now that most people have fled.

In Lower Dir, shelling has continued in Maidan, where a curfew was lifted until 4 p.m. on 25 May.

    

Almost 90% of the population in villages beset by fighting have fled to safer areas, such as south Buner. Most displaced people (IDPs) are with host families or in rented accommodation. Fewer than 20% have chosen to stay in camps.

 ICRC and Pakistan Red Crescent help displaced people meet basic needs  

    

In Shahmansoor   camp (Swabi), managed jointly by the ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, about 12,500 people have been given accommodation, water and sanitation facilities and basic health care. The camp has now reached full capacity. The ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent also manage an adjacent camp with a projected capacity of 21,000; the number of peopl e in the two camps will thus eventually rise to over 33,000. An additional 7,000 displaced people are staying in two ICRC-supported Red Crescent camps in Malakand.

    

In Lower Dir, ICRC staff have visited four camps for displaced people in Timergara (Government Girls College Timergara, Commerce College Timergara, Sadbar Kalay and Summerbagh) to assess the needs of around 10,000 people living there. An estimated 30,000 additional people are living with host families in the area.

Furthermore, the ICRC has enabled displaced people to make more than 550 phone calls to members of their families from whom they are separated as a result of the conflict. 

 For further information, please contact:  

 Sébastien Brack, ICRC Islamabad, tel: +92 300 850 81 38  

 Sitara Jabeen, ICRC Islamabad, tel: +92 300 850 56 93  

 Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18