Dr Rubina Mumtaz, Country Director RMF
The military action against the Taliban under the operation titled Zarb-e-Azb has led to the displacement of nearly 500,000 persons from North Waziristan Agency. Nearly 74% of these IDPs are women and children. As of June 27th, the FATA Disaster Management Authority has registered 457,048 IDPs (39,904 families). The majority of these families are residing in Bannu Districts with some moving to Hangu, Lakki Marwat, Karak, Dera Ismail Khan, Charsadda, Tank and Kohat Districts.
The NADRA office has started verifying the registered families and so far 17,000 families have been verified. Another 13,500 families have been rejected due to invalid or expired CNICs or invalid family trees. UNHCR is working with the government of address this issue.
According to OCHA, most the IDPs are living with friends and families. Many have opened their ‘hujra’ doors to these families. This also means that the house rents have shot up further adding to the woes of the IDPs. The government established refugee camp in Bannu has attracted only 28 families due to its inadequate facilities and security. The government of Pakistan has announced a cash package of Rs 20,000/- per family for Ramazan but only registered families with government issued SIM cards are eligible, a process that opens doors to corruption and inefficiency whilst the genuine poor and vulnerable fall through the cracks.
Our ground team conducted a brief needs assessment over the weekend and we found that the first and foremost problem faced by the IDPs is shortage of food. This was verified by the Pakistan Health Cluster meeting that took place on 1st July 2014 in Islamabad and that also identified the food crisis as the critical issue at the moment. With the advent of Ramazan and its inherent price hikes, this crisis has indeed reached critical levels. The Pakistan Army, armed with food rations supplied by the UAE government has already initiated a support process. However, humanitarian organizations on ground have been requested for their support in provision of food packages, non-emergency health kits and non-food items. For security reasons, health care provision is only allowed by organizations registered with the KPK-PDMA.
Real Medicine Foundation has proposed to provide uncooked monthly food rations composed of 20kg rice, 20kg flour, 5kg pulses, 3 liter oil, tea, sugar, dry milk, salt and spices. This food package will cost 5,000/- and will suffice for one family of 5 members (adults and teenagers) or 8 members (2 adults and 6 children under 14).
We are aiming to provide food packages to 100 families for a period of 3 months. The protocol of distribution will be close coordination with the FATA-DMA to ensure that duplication is avoided. This includes a specific form that identified the collector’s CNIC, IDP registration number, family tree registration, the number of members in his/her family and if they have already received any rations from other sources.