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UNHCR postpones registration of IDPs

March 23, 2013

Internally displaced people of Pakistan. -Photo by AP
Internally displaced people of Pakistan. -Photo by AP

PESHAWAR: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Friday postponed registration of internally displaced persons, who fled Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency due to clashes between rival militant groups.

Officials said that total 4,835 families (37,885 individuals) had been displaced from the remote valley adjacent to Kurram and Orakzai agencies and more families were on their way to relief camps in Hangu and Kurram.

They said that Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) immediately contacted UN agencies keeping in view the magnitude of the displacement and suffering of the affected population.

They said that all UN agencies gave positive response and agreed to start registration of displaced persons from March 21 (Thursday). However UNHCR unilaterally postponed registration and as a result other UN agencies also made excuses which affected humanitarian activities.

UNHCR spokesperson Dunya Aslam Khan when approached said that registration process was postponed because significant numbers of displaced persons were turning up.

“There is mass scale arrival of displaced persons that is why UNHCR postponed registration process,” she said.

UN agencies and its partners have already suspended humanitarian activities in Jalozai Camp, Nowshera, since Thursday after a car bomb blast which left 17 people dead and 28 others wounded. The world body has asked the government to improve security in Jalozai and other camps in the province.

Clashes broke out between Lashkar-i-Islam and Ansarul Islam in Bagh Maidan area of Tirah which forced civilian population to leave their homes. FDMA had registered 520 families in Kurram and 4,315 families in Orakzai during the last one week.

Officials said that FDMA in collaboration withresponded to the situation and immediately provided transport, tents, cooked food and non-food items. An official said that registration by the UNHCR was basic requirement for humanitarian assistance.

He said: “All emergency protocols of the UNHCR require immediate response to human catastrophes, but despite the fact the UN refugee agency’s response is bereft of the much needed urgency.” He said that displaced people desperately needed food and shelter.

According to official statistics, more than 65,000 families had already been displaced from Bara sub-division owing to violence and military operations and were residing in camps and with host families.