UN to spend $3.7 million on IDPs

Published July 15, 2014
Children wait in a line to receive food in the sweltering heat at a relief camp in Bannu.—Photo by Zahir Shah Sherazi
Children wait in a line to receive food in the sweltering heat at a relief camp in Bannu.—Photo by Zahir Shah Sherazi

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will spend $3.75 million to support the authorities looking after the people displaced by the military operation in North Waziristan and engage them in productive work through enhancement of livelihood opportunities to meet their immediate needs like cash for work, basic skills training and business grants.

This will enable the internally displaced persons (IDPs) to diversify their earning sources and contribute to local economy, says the UNDP’s preliminary response plan for Waziristan.

The plan unveiled on Monday will help host communities improve their basic infrastructure being used by the IDPs to strengthen social cohesion among the hosts and the ‘guests’.

According to the agency, a community restoration cluster has been launched in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) as a joint venture of the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) and the UNDP.


Prolonged stay of the displaced will create social, economic and political problems, warns UNDP


The agency is gearing up to facilitate the FDMA and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PMDA) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in assessing the spread of the IDPs, their needs and gaps and mapping public services for improving them to meet additional demand, support district disaster management units through placement of human resource for coordination of relief activities and to set up grievance redressal systems.

Given that the bulk of the IDPs choose to settle within host communities, the community restoration cluster will focus on helping the provincial and local authorities to manage the off-camp displaced families and improving basic infrastructure to lessen the stress on public services.

Only a few dozen families have turned up for registration at the IDP camp in the Frontier Region Bannu. Most IDPs have taken refuge in the buildings of schools and colleges and health facilities or are living with relatives.

Those who can afford have rented houses and it has increased the demand for houses and their rents.

Zardari slams govt over IDPs issue, urges it to seek world help

Their preference to stay with host communities will have social, economic and political implications, warns the UNDP. Risk of creating resentment among local people cannot be ignored if their stay is prolonged.

The population of Bannu district is estimated at 965,000 and that of FR Bannu only 27,000. The overwhelming influx of the IDPs in these areas will have demographic consequences.

The tracking of the movement of the IDPs after they cross the registration point is difficult, and their exact location and spread in the adjoining districts of Bannu and other parts of KP is not known. This makes it difficult for the government to effectively plan and manage relief operations.

Though the majority is staying in the adjoining areas, there are reports that a substantial number of displaced families have moved to other parts of KP, Punjab, and Karachi.

The surge in the IDPs’ population in hosting areas is putting a strain on local public services like health facilities, water supply, sanitation and schools. The public services need support to cope with the additional demand caused by the IDPs’ influx.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2014

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