UN agencies to provide basic facilities for refugees

July 29, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

PESHAWAR: The United Nations agencies and its partners will assume a bigger role in days ahead to cater to the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Pakistan’s tribal region of North Waziristan Agency, sources said.

They said that the UN agencies had agreed in principle to provide basic facilities to the newly arrived IDPs if international norms and guidelines were followed. Under these norms, rights of IDPs will be protected. Right to personal safety, food, shelter, education and access to work offers vital protection during such displacements.

The government has agreed to expand the scope of humanitarian agencies to IDPs. In this regard, a meeting of the stakeholders was held in Peshawar on Sunday which was presided over by Chief Secretary Amjad Ali Khan.

Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) director general Tahir Orakzai was appointed focal person of the coordination committee. Officials said that approximately 500,000 IDPs from North Waziristan Agency had settled in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and now PDMA with the assistance of UN agencies would look after the displaced people.

The Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) said that the number of IDPs had reduced from one million to 500,000 after verification by the National Database and Registration Authority.

Tribal people had fled homes after the Pakistan Army launched operation against militants in North Waziristan Agency on June 18.

Civil Secretariat, Fata, has put staff of the line departments in North Waziristan, including education and health, at the disposal of the administration of the IDPs hosting districts, particularly in Bannu. The Bannu district having one million people has been overburdened with the arrival of the huge influx of IDPs.

An official source said that the UN agencies and its partners would intervene to provide assistance in health, education, drinking water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition.

He said that the government could not fulfil needs and requirements of the IDPs without engaging the UN bodies.

“Malnutrition among children is a major issue and the UN has the capacity and resources to fulfil nutrition requirements of children, especially new born babies,” the official said.

The government, he said, would also provide access to partners of the UN, including international and national NGOs, to work in the IDPs hosting areas.