PAKISTAN: Nightmare for Civilians Uprooted by Conflict

Published on 12 January 2009

Since Sep. 22, an estimated 400,000 people have fled their homes in Bajaur Agency in the wake of a military operation launched by the Pakistani army against Taliban militants. Conditions in the Kacha Garhi camp are appalling; the worst affected children. Khanum's seven, between the ages of 12 and a few months, are covered with mosquito bites. "You can hear children weeping through the night," she says. The NWFP government set up 11 camps to shelter internally displaced peoples (IDPs) from Bajaur and Mohmand agencies that are part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and Swat, a district in NWFP that has been riven with violence since 2006. [...] "About 51 percent of the camps' inmates suffer from acute respiratory infections and 19 percent had acute watery diarrhoea," says Dr Saeed Akbar Khan of the World Health Organisation that along with the World Food Programme (WFP) and UN children's agency, UNICEF, launched a 30 million dollars appeal to help IDPs in October. UNICEF estimates that 15 percent of children in the camps are severely malnourished. The worst affected are children from Nowshera, Lower Dir, Mardan, Charsadda, according to Dr Saeed Anwar.

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Inter Press Service (IPS)