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Pakistan: civilians in Swat short of everything

17-06-2009 Operational Update

"The civilians who stayed behind in Swat during these last weeks have been mostly confined to their homes" says Gerry Robertson, the delegate in charge of the ICRC assistance programme in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP). "They are short of everything and will need help until the situation stabilizes.

  ©ICRC/ J. Oerlemans / pk-e-00818    
ICRC/Pakistan Red Crescent-supported IDP camp, Swabi Province. Civilians wait to receive relief items.    
  ©ICRC/ J. Oerlemans / pk-e-00825    
Swabi IDP camp. Preparations for the distribution of relief items to IDPs.    
  ©ICRC/ J. Oerlemans / pk-e-00823    
Swabi IDP camp. Food being prepared by the Pakistan Red Crescent.    
  ©ICRC/ M. Von Bergen / pk-e-00833    
Panjtar village, Buner District. The ICRC distributes food and relief items to IDPs.    
It is in this context that the organization is launching a round of food distributions for 40,000 residents of Mingora and environs. The ICRC has recently stepped up its assistance for people affected by fighting in the NWFP thanks to improved access to them and a budget extension of 40 million Swiss francs, of which about half will support Pakistan Red Crescent activities. Its capacity to deliver this food will however depend on its ability to operate in the area safely. The ICRC is working closely with the PRCS and other partners within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to make a difference for those affected by the violence.

The ICRC in Pakistan currently employs over 800 national staff and over 100 expatriates.



  • The ICRC remains the only international humanitarian organization operating in Swat today. It has been back in the area since 3 June and has established a permanent presence in Mingora.
  • Health teams have supported the Saidu Teaching Hospital in Mingora and the Kwaz Khela Civil Hospital with a generator and fuel to restore electricity supply. They have also delivered food, medical supplies, medicine and bandages for over 10,000 patients for three months. Nine wounded patients from Swat have been evacuated to the ICRC's hospital in Peshawar for the weapon-wounded.
  • 300 Mingora families were put in touch with relatives who had fled south. The phone lines in Swat have been down for about a month now.



  • The ICRC remains the only international humanitarian organization operating in Dir.
  • The organization supports the PRCS's efforts to assist over 13,000 IDPs in five Lower Dir camps, providing them with food, firewood, medical supplies. Water and Sanitation teams are also restoring their access to clean water.
  • A team travelled to Upper Dir this week to carry out an assessment. Resident were seen abandoning their homes and moving further south.



  • Medical supplies and fuel were donated to Daggar District Hospital and Totalai Civil Hospital. A patient from Daggar was evacuated to the ICRC's surgical hospital in Peshawar.
  • Over 2,000 newly displaced people who found refuge in host families in southern Buner were provided with one month worth of food supplies.



  • The ICRC's surgical hospital for weapon-wounded patients has increased its capacity to 90 beds in response to the influx of victims of the fighting in NWFP.
  • The organization supports the Pakistan Institute of Prosthetic and Orthoti c Sciences (PIPOS) as it help persons injured by weapons to recover and re-integrate society. The Institute provides patients with artificial limbs, assistive devices and mobility aids, physiotherapy, and even reconstructive surgery if necessary.
  • The ICRC continues to visit persons detained in relation to the fighting or for security reasons in NWFP.


Response to IDP crisis

  • The PRCS, with support from the ICRC, is running Shah Mansoor IDP camp in Swabi. The camp hosts over 20,000 IDPs. Work is ongoing at the camp to improve living conditions and community kitchens were opened this week. The organizations are currently preparing the camps for the onset of the monsoon.
  • The PRCS, with support from the ICRC, run one IDP camp in Malakand Agency (for about 10,000 IDPS) and four in Lower Dir (for 13,000 IDPs).
  • The PRCS offer free phone calls to IDPs to get in touch with their relatives.

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
  Simon Schorno, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 251 93 02


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