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Pakistan: a challenging homecoming in the North-West Frontier Province

13-08-2009 Operational Update

Though hundreds of thousands of people are gradually returning to the North-West Frontier Province after months of displacement, the situation remains difficult. The ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent are helping these people to cope, while addressing the most urgent needs of the newly displaced.

  ©ICRC/P. Fichard/pk-e-00878    
  District of Buner, Daggar, Sawari camp for displaced people. Relief distribution of food and non-food items by the ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.    

  ©ICRC/P. Fichard/pk-e-00881    
  District of Buner, Daggar, Sawari camp for displaced people. Relief distribution of food and non-food items by the ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.    

Although a majority of the population seems to have returned, there has been fresh displacement from Chagarzai and Gagra, in the east, to the district capital, Daggar, due to insecurity. Some people have had to sell cattle or other possessions to pay their way out. Many of the fleeing families have left a relative behind to watch over their property.

In the face of this influx, the authorities have opened a new camp in Sawari – a town which already hosts 6,300 displaced people (IDPs) – to avoid overcrowding. The ICRC has distributed a month's supply of food and other essential goods to over 8,000 displaced people in the camps in Daggar.

According to Xavier Godefroid, the ICRC delegate in charge of operations in Buner, " many displaced people continue to stream in to the camps in Daggar, where the situation is fraught. The ICRC is ready to step in to address these people's most urgent needs, which are food, health and hygiene. "


While the security situation in the southern part of the district has improved, allowing many people who had fled south in previous months to return, fighting continues in the northern part of Dir, triggering more displacement. The newly displaced are seeking refuge in various camps or with host families.

The ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society have set up a new camp at Khungi Sha, in Timergara, over the past 10 days. The ICRC has provided three Pakistan Red Crescent health facilities with a month's supply of medicine, sufficient to treat over 7,200 patients.

Next week the ICRC plans to go to Upper Dir, where the fighting is ongoing, in order to assess the situation. In the meantime, the organization has provided 12,000 people with food and soap in the camps of Gandigar and Wary A and B.


The situation in the south of Swat has improved significantly. Mingora city is slowly returning to normal. Food is available again in the market at reasonable prices. A majority of the population seems to have returned over the past couple of weeks even though conditions remain difficult.

The bottleneck over the Kanju Bridge remains, allowing only a minimum flow of traffic in both directions. Many displaced families from the Matta and Kabbal Tehsils are still facing difficulty getting home owing to insecurity. The Pakistan Red Crescent is running a health facility in Kanju. Together with its three ambulances, the facility is covering the basic health needs of over 100,000 residents in the area.


In Malakand, the ICRC has started to distribute food to over 28,000 residents affected by the ongoing fighting. In addition, 8,000 displaced people have received food and soap in Rang Mela Camp.


In and around Zhob city, Baluchistan, the ICRC assisted a thousand more displaced people escaping the unstable situation in South Waziristan this week.

In Barkhan, the ICRC joined a Pakistan Red Crescent team preparing lists of families affected by the recent flood. In response to the emergency, the ICRC had already sent food rations from its sub-delegations in Peshawar and Quetta to a ssist over 9,500 needy people. According to Taimur Bashir, an ICRC field officer in Peshawar, " the team is assessing the situation at the moment and thousands more food rations should be sent to Barkhan very soon. "

  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
  Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 217 32 17
 See also: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies