ISLAMABAD: The government will formally launch a relief initiative for people displaced from North Waziristan after a rapid assessment of their needs, which will be completed on Saturday (today).
This was stated by the additional secretary of the Ministry of State and Frontier Regions (Safron) and focal person for the internally displaced persons, Mr Tariq Hayat, at a press conference here on Friday. The assessment would enable the government to establish exact requirements of the IDPs, he added.
Since the beginning of the Operation Zarb-i-Azb, he said, 992,649 IDPs belonging to 90,750 families had been registered. With the support of the National Database and Registration Authority a process of verification is under way to confirm that only displaced people have been registered because the government wants to provide relief only to deserving people.
Formal launch of relief initiative shortly, says official
With the start of the operation, the official said, the government had immediately started the process to register the IDPs while providing them food at registration points. The displaced people were not bound to live in specific areas or camps but were allowed to go anywhere they liked.
He said every person was asked to fill a form to provide information about number of members of his family, destination and the host so that relief goods could be handed over to them at the place where the family lived.
The government has established 10 distribution points -- seven in Bannu, two in Lakki Marwat and one in Dera Ismail Khan -- where the IDPs were given food baskets, containing 100kg foodstuff, which is enough for one month for a family. So far 127,000 baskets have been distributed. On the basis of requirements, some families have been given two baskets.
Mr Hayat said every displaced family would receive Rs12,000 cash with an additional Ramazan grant of Rs 20,000. The Punjab government will pay Rs 7,000 a month to each family. The Khyber Pakthunkhwa government will pay Rs8,000 to a family this month and Rs 3,000 per month later.
The Punjab government will provide food items worth Rs100 million and has already sent 50 trucks.
The Prime Minister Relief Fund has been set up and the army is managing 55 relief points.
The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences has taken over the management of the District Headquarters Hospital in Bannu and reinforced its medical staff.
He said 18,297 patients had received treatment at medical facilities established by the federal government and the army in Bannu. To enable schoolgoing children to continue their studies, arrangements have been made for them in local schools so that they do not waste the education year beginning on Aug 15.
The World Food Programme has provided 60,000 food baskets from its stores in Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan and Norwegian volunteers 24,000 non-food items, besides the food assistance worth $2.5 million provided by the by UAE government.
Mr Hayat said the ministry had opened a field office in Bannu and volunteers of the WHO, WFP, UNHCR, Red Crescent Society and Bahria Town were also actively helping the IDPs.
He rejected a perception that some IDPs had crossed over to Afghanistan and insisted that not a single person had shifted to that country.
Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2014