New Waves of Displaced in Pakistan: WFP Now Reaching 650,000 in Need

Published on 12 May 2009

ISLAMABAD – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced plans to double the amount of emergency food needed to help thousands of families fleeing their homes due to fighting along Pakistan’s troubled border region with Afghanistan.

“WFP has mobilized in-country stocks and is prepared to feed the growing population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) for the next two to three months.  Assisting hungry families is our first priority,” said WFP Pakistan Country Representative Wolfgang Herbinger, adding that donations are needed quickly to meet the growing demand for food. 

WFP has been providing emergency rations to 650,000 people who have fled the conflict areas in the North West Frontier Province. The assisted population includes some 200,000 IDPs newly arrived from Lower Dir, Swat and Buner districts.

WFP assistance has reached registered IDPs in camps as well as in host communities. The latter account for more than 80 percent of all IDPs. WFP is setting up additional food distribution hubs in Mardan and Swabi districts - the main receiving districts for the latest wave of displacements – and is making arrangements to ensure that food assistance reaches all registered IDPs.

“We need the international donor community to quickly step forward with donations to avoid any interruptions in food distributions,” said Herbinger.

WFP field staff reported accounts of desperate need by IDPs for food, shelter and medical care. “We had to leave very fast,” said Abdul Khan, a resident of Mingora town in Swat district. "We heard that the shooting had lessened and we left in a hurry. We could not bring anything. There wasn't even any time to bury the dead or bring them with us. We now depend on the kindness of people who are willing to help us."